Nick Vujicic, the Australian-born YouTube sensation and worldwide speaker who has shared his amazing life story to full-capacity crowds in venues across 54 countries, will visit six Florida schools November 3 – 6 to speak out against bullying. His powerful message will also be simulcast online and viewed live in school assemblies throughout the state.
Nick’s story wasn’t always glamorous. Born without arms or legs, Nick was bullied so badly during his childhood that he attempted suicide at just 10 years old. Fortunately, Nick survived and soon began to see that he had a purpose in life. As a young man, he learned to combine his incredible talent as a speaker with his passion for helping others. The result is a powerful, relatable story that has taken the world by storm.
Vujicic encourages young people to live their life to the fullest. “We want you to know that no matter what challenges you have, that you’re not alone and we are there for you and someone cares,” said Vujicic. “We want you to never give up, to dream big and Stand Strong with us.”
19.6 percent of teens are bullied at school
The event is being organized by Stand Strong USA, a secular nonprofit based in South Florida determined to provide resources to end bullying, help teens facing depression and saves the lives of youth.
Bullying is a pervasive problem. A staggering 19.6 percent of 9th through 12th grade students report they were bullied on school property in the United States and 14.8 percent report they have been electronically bullied via email, chat rooms, instant messaging, websites or texting in the past twelve months, according to the 2013 CDC Teen Risk Behavior Surveillance report.
Eight percent of high school students have attempted suicide one or more times in the past twelve months, and bullying victims are 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to studies by Yale University.
As a response to these eye-opening numbers, Roy Moore, founder and president of Stand Strong USA, began assembling a team to save and transform lives by addressing the these issues. “Stand Strong USA is dedicated to creating a national voice and a set of digital tools to help save lives and end bullying,” said Moore.
Their initiative has the full support of Florida Governor Rick Scott and virtually every school district in the state. “We value collaborative relationships with groups and individuals that stand united against bullying and other forms of intimidation and aggression,” said Alberto M. Carvalho, superintendent of Miami-Dade Public Schools. “Mr. Vujicic is a gifted presenter. His life story of overcoming physical challenges, along with the dedication to empowering our youth to establish and maintain healthy relationships is motivational and inspiring,” he added.
Live and simulcast events will reach statewide
Nick Vujici will appear live at six Florida schools on November 3 – 6 with simulcast events reaching close to 700,000 students in school assemblies throughout the state and beyond. Nick will appear live at the following locations and times.
- Tuesday, November 3 at 9 a.m. at Ocoee High School and at 1 p.m. at Boone High School in Orlando.
- Wednesday, November 4 (time TBD) at Oxbridge Prep School in West Palm Beach.
- Thursday, November 5 at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. at Boca Raton High School.
- Friday, November 6 at 9 a.m. at Parkway Middle School in Broward County and at 1 p.m. at Miami Beach High School.
The live events are by invitation only, but can be viewed free online. Public and private schools who wish to participate should visit www.standstrongflorida.com/simulcast to sign up for one of the SSUSA simulcast options listed above. Parents and others can also register to view the free simulcasts. “We want anyone to watch who is interested,” said Moore.
Interactive App will engage students and connect them to resources
Students will also be able to tune in and interactively participate with the live simulcasts though a Smartphone app. The app will focus on three areas:
- Engagement – Students will be able to participate anonymously through the app by voting and responding to questions during the live simulcast event.
- Intervention – Students can create a crisis text line that sends a message to a trusted circle of 4 or 5 people they know care, and a single-touch 911 lifeline gets them help instantly.
- Resources – Students can access a directory of free or near-free local services geared for students, including school clubs, community organizations, health care, mental health and emergency help.
“We’re trying to help stem a bad decision and connect a child in trouble with help to move them forward. It is a digital bridge from Nick as a catalyst to the service and help students need,” said Moore.
After the events, the Smartphone app and Stand Strong USA website will continue to provide local support and resources for schools, students, parents, teachers, administrators and social service providers.
To encourage students to download the free app, the first 5,000 students who download the free app before the event will be entered in a drawing for a free iPad.
Simply visit the App Store and look for the SSUSA app. For more on SSUSA, visit www.standstrongflorida.com.
Nick Vujicic Expected to Draw Crowds to FAU Stadium on November 7
After a full week speaking at Florida schools, Nick Vujicic will bring his inspiring message that you can live without limits to Florida Atlantic University Stadium in Boca Raton on Saturday, November 7 at 7 p.m. This free event, which is open to the public, will also feature a performance by The Elliott Band, a modern-rock band from the Pacific Northwest whose energetic and worshipful sound is reminiscent of Switchfoot, One Republic, The Script and Hillsong United.
Expecting to draw a crowd of up to 20,000 people to the stadium, Vujicic will broaden his talk to tackle those age old questions we all struggle with: Who am I? Why am I here? And where do I belong?
Growing up without arms or legs as the victim of bullying, he certainly didn’t feel as though he belonged in this world; he even tried to take his own life. But then something amazing happened that changed his whole perspective.
With humor and candor, Nick shares what he has learned that has allowed him to live a full life where even swimming, surfing and skydiving are not off limits for a man with no arms or legs.
“Nick is such an intriguing person,” said Stephan Tchividjian, president of the National Christian Foundation of South Florida, which is helping organize the stadium event along with area churches. “There is an authenticity about him that is very disarming.”
Noting that everyone has some pain and issues in their life — some burden that they are carrying — regardless of age, Tchividjian said, “There is something compelling about hearing a man get up with such obvious difficulties, yet you see him in an authentic way surrender it to Christ. And there’s a joy and peace in him that says, ‘I’d gladly give up my limbs for what I have received from Christ.’ Whatever things someone has as a weight in their life, and maybe they blame God, then a guy like Nick gets up and it’s profound. He can’t fake it. Nick has a raw and real hope in Christ that is evident. And he crosses all age, cultural, socioeconomic and religious barriers. Whether you are 5 years old or 80 years old you can’t help but find his message is for you. He is transcending that many barriers and our hope is that the stadium is filled with every age, color, size and culture.”
While Calvary Chapel and Christ Fellowship are among the churches supporting the stadium event, Tchividjian stressed, “This is an opportunity for the church community, regardless of size, to link arms together and participate collectively toward evangelism.”
He is encouraging Christians to think of that one person in life, whether it’s at work, in your neighborhood or within your family, who you can invite.
Churches can participate by promoting the event among their own people and encouraging them to bring a friend. Volunteers are also needed to help assist as ushers, greeters, parking attendances and special needs assistants.
To find out more about the FAU stadium event and how you can get involved, visit www.livewithoutlimitsflorida.com
For more articles by Shelly Pond, please visit goodnewsfl.org/author/shelly/