“I am what some might call an alphabet kid,” says Jaylen. “See look, here are all the letters behind my name: Jaylen Arnold, TS, OCD, ASP.”
Those initials standing for Tourette Syndrome, severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Aspergers Syndrome (ASP – a broad spectrum Autism Disorder) — all challenges Jaylen has faced courageously from the age of two.
So, when kids at school chose to bully Jaylen because of his perceived differences, Jaylen took the higher road. Rather than fighting back physically, he decided to become the voice for millions of other children who have been bullied for being different. With the mantra “Bullying No Way!” anchoring his movement, Jaylen founded Jaylens Challenge Foundation, a program that has taught over 100,000 children how to recognize bullying and how to appreciate the differences in children.
Using personal presentations and workshops, Jaylen and his supporters carry the “Bullying No Way!” message around the country. He plans to use funding from World of Children to expand his anti-bullying message to thousands more children across the United States.
Jaylen Arnold is a busy boy. He travels the country speaking at schools, delivering his anti-bullying message. His presentations are designed to inform, educate and inspire.
Each student who participates in a presentation receives several items to empower them to be the agents of change to stop bullying in its tracks. Students receive the Jaylens Challenge Foundation Anti-Bullying Handbook, meant to instruct and spark conversation about bullying; the Jaylens Challenge wristbands; an exclusive Jaylens Challenge Foundation, Inc. poster; and a certificate of achievement.
Most importantly, youth get to see how one young boy, despite his many challenges, has overcome the harmful effects of bullying. They learn how to get help, how to help others, and how to end bullying for good in their peer circles and schools.
In anticipation of the 2014 Awards Ceremony, we were able to ask Jaylen a few questions about his program and is work to end bullying. Read our interview with Jaylen by clicking here.