SAVE THE DATE: 16th Annual Evening of Aloha Gala Dinner Sept. 23, 2017

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Matthew Kaplan

Matthew Kaplan (18) from Phoenix, AZ

My Mission
I aim to stop bullying in schools nationwide, by fostering empathy, building bridges, and enhancing self-esteem.

My Actions
When my younger brother became the victim of cyberbullying at our middle school, I wanted 'somebody' to do something about it. Nobody did, so I realized that that 'somebody' had to be me. I took action. I created The Be ONE Project, an anti-bullying program for middle schoolers. In just four years, over 3,800 students in four states have participated in Be ONE. Through speaking engagements and a public service announcement airing on Disney Channel, I am reaching millions more.

Finding Courage
Middle school is a tough time, but it's a tough time for everyone. It was not always easy being gay at an Arizona middle school. There were times when I felt isolated. I carried the weight of knowing that I was different, and at times the weight felt crushing. I created The Be ONE Project to make middle school a safe space for everyone, especially those most vulnerable, by changing the culture that allows bullying to thrive.


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