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El Paso County Colorado District 49

Anti-bullying concert this month

The ìStand Up. Speak Out.î concert is almost here. On Aug. 17, Falcon School District 49 will host the concert at Security Service Field in Colorado Springs. A wide array of bands will perform to promote compassion in schools and increase community awareness about bullying.Standing room onlyIncluded in the performance line-up is cover band S.R.O. Lead singer Ken Reedy said he and the other five members of the band decided to join the concert roster because they thought theyíd fit in with the cause. ìFirst and foremost, we support the cause,î Reedy said. ìItís a really good cause, and itís cool to see artists get together and rally around any cause. Itís going to be a great experience for us musically.ìFor us, just to get to play a stadium is cool. Most of us in the band have been performing in some way, shape or form for the bulk of our lives, and none of us has played a venue this big.îReedy said the New York-based band has been together for about four years. Other members include Michele De Gennaro on vocals, Ron Roberto on lead guitar, Mike Cambria on bass and vocals, Greg De Miceli on drums and Ben Fuentes on the keyboard and guitar.ìWeíve all been bullied at some point or another,î Reedy said. ìI was scrawny growing up and got picked on a lot for my size. As I got older, I got into weight-lifting. A few years back, I set a state record in the bench press, but you get so caught up in that moment in high school. You canít see beyond that time. You look at life in a very finite way.îReedy said once people found out that his band was going to be part of an anti-bullying concert, they started telling him their stories about being bullied. ìA friend from high school out of nowhere contacted me and said, ëItís great that youíre doing this and raising awareness,íî Reedy said. ìShe said that someone put a fat joke in her yearbook; and, over the course of her life, she had lost over 100 pounds Ö the joke really stuck with her.ìThe message is that itís tough to get out there and say ëend bullyingí but you can tell kids that are being bullied that it does get better. You can change things.îAshley BerryAn internationally recognized anti-bullying advocate, 13-year-old Ashley Berry, will also be part of the ìStand up. Speak Out.î concert activities. Berry said she was a shy girl, especially in elementary school, and remembers being bullied.ìOne of the big things I remember the most was in fifth grade,î Berry said. ìI walked into the lunchroom, and I went to sit with my friends and they all stood up and walked away. I thought they were my friends but obviously they werenít.îBerry said the bullying was so hard on her that she decided she wanted to talk to people about it to make sure no one else had to go through what she did. Her experiences provided the inspiration she needed to start workshops under her organization, G.I.R.L.S. , which stands for Girls Inspiring Real Leadership Skills, she said. Berry said she will be attending a Girl Scoutsí camp and will be conducting one of her G.I.R.L.S workshops for about 500 campers.ìI think that being able to do what I do helps me overcome things,î Berry said. ìIt helps me understand that you donít have to let it get to you or push you down. You can see the brighter side.ìMy big thing that Iíve been saying at every presentation is donít let the bully define you. You donít have to take it as a sad experience. Look at me; Iíve taken a sad experience and made it this really amazing thing.î

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