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16-Year-Old Charles Kolin Spearheads Initiative to Get Unity Day Recognized by Congress

16-Year-Old Charles Kolin Spearheads Initiative to Get Unity Day Recognized by Congress

Charles overcame bullying to spearhead a cause that he hopes will help end bullying in schools.

Charles Kolin, a junior at Greens Farms Academy in Westport, CT, has overcome bullying to spearhead an initiative that will hopefully result in Unity Day being officially recognized by Congress as a day for students to come together in support of kindness, tolerance, and respect. Charles is working with Senator Blumenthal (D-CT) and Congressman Himes (D-CT), as well as the PACER Organization in Minnesota, to raise as much support for the resolution as possible. If the resolution passes, Unity Day will be celebrated on Oct. 23 of each school year. Charles spoke to NYMetroParents about his journey.

He explained that the bullying he went through as a younger student was life-changing–but certain factors in his life have given him a sense of purpose that allowed him to turn a negative experience into a positive agent for change.

“I was born with a natural sense of confidence,” Charles said. “I’m a surviving triplet, the only child who survived, and that has given me a sense of purpose. And that sense of purpose is what drove me to overcome my bullies. Changing schools to Greens Farms gave me an additional confidence boost to make sure bullying doesn’t happen to anyone else.”

Schools have already begun hosting Unity Day events that include bringing students who don’t know each other very well together in activities that encourage collaboration and respect, such as carving a pumpkin together with a design that emphasizes the theme of unity. Charles explained the difference between Unity Day and anti-bullying days that are often held in schools.

“During an anti-bullying day, everyone is coming together, but they’re coming together against something,” Charles said. “And that word “anti” creates an environment where everyone is looking for the negative behavior, pointing their fingers at the bullies and the [survivors], not creating an environment for that behavior to stop. On Unity Day, everyone is coming together for something, creating that positive energy that filters out the negative behavior.”

Charles explained that he worked with Senator Blumenthal on a draft of the Unity Day resolution, which Blumenthal then gave to Charles to edit. Charles and his advocates are trying to raise awareness of the resolution, get it in front of as many Congressmen as possible, trying to get bipartisan support. As for Charles’ next move, his dream is to be a Supreme Court Justice–and if that doesn’t work out, a sports commentator on a major network.

“Me, a 16-year-old year old who a few years ago was thinking about killing himself, is now in his room writing a resolution for national Unity Day,” Charles reflected. “I think that is awesome.”

To contact Charles, learn more about Unity Day, or learn how you can take part in the #UnityChallenge, visit the Unity Day website. If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or experiencing suicidal thoughts, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Main Image: Courtesy Anderson Public Relations Group


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Jacqueline Neber

Author: Jacqueline Neber is a social journalism MA candidate at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. When she’s not reporting, you can find her petting someone else’s dog. See More

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