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Brace Yourselves: Kevin Bracy and the “Each1Reach1” Movement

Brace Yourself

Brace Yourself

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Kevin Bracy, founder and leader of the “Each1Reach1” Movement, visited Vista del Lago High School,  speaking to freshmen on April 23-24.

The a foundation focuses on youth awareness and kindness to their fellow students. Bracy started the organization seventeen years ago, but “I feel like today is day one. I feel like I’m more excited today than when I first began,” he said.

Bracy, who was raised in Citrus Heights, says he had a rough home life and began bullying others to feel more secure about himself. He now uses this experience to discuss bullying’s causes and effects with schools in an effort to stop the cycle.

He says it all started a few years after he graduated from high school. He called his high school math teacher and asked if he could speak to one of the instructor’s classes. The teacher agreed to allow him to speak to a class composed of seniors about “life after high school.”

The teacher was impressed, which gave Bracy more confidence, so he passed his name on to other teachers. From there, his prominence built and other districts took notice.

“Schools work in clusters,” Bracy said. “If one school likes you, they’ll tell another activities director about you, and you’ll start to build a reputation.”

Bracy’s messages include many topics, all centered around a pair of ideas:

“I want to raise the awareness of student-to-student,” he said. “I want them to be more open and … more aware of the plight of the person that sits right next to them every day.”

He also wants to let all youth know that there is greatness in them. “The youth just want to be seen. They want to be heard. They want to know they matter,” he said. “I want teenagers to feel special in my presence.”

He has two slogans that keep students attentive in presentations: “Brace Yourselves,” which is a pun on his name, with a call to arms for kindness, and “Each One, Reach One.” The second phrase relates to the organization’s main plan: for each student to reach out to one another every day.

There are four things Bracy specifically says he hopes for all students:

1. Each person wakes up in the morning finding something to be thankful for.

2. They always chase their wildest dreams.

3. They recognize the greatness within themselves.

4. They choose to go out of their way each day to be kind to each other.

“He made me think about how simple that actually is. It’s not that hard just to reach one person every day,” freshman Sydney Northcutt said. “I definitely will take from this presentation that … not only can we apply this just to Vista and just to school, but we can apply it…every day in our whole life.”

It is mainly Bracy who runs the movement, but he is often assisted by Susan Schultz, leader of an organization known as the Kindness Club, as well as a multitude of volunteers, and schools and school districts fund him.

Bracy says he always really connects with one or two students at every campus he attends, and one such student was a girl named Sydnie. She was bullied out of school last year, and so she became home-schooled. He helped her, along with her parents, and “she just had a meeting this week to go back to school,” Bracy said.

This change was a result of Bracy introducing her in an assembly at her former high school, at which the student body largely and warmly embraced her back.

“I think it’s  … a positive message to get students thinking outside of themselves and thinking about the feelings and experiences of others,” Elicia Spencer, a teacher attending the presentation, said. “How a certain person’s situation at home might affect who they are at school.”

Students and teachers alike commented on the factor of genuine experience that Bracy brought into the assemblies.

“I liked that it was relevant. He was providing examples from his life rather than just…preaching a message. He was able to talk about how his experiences affected…his actions,” Spencer said.

However, there was a small factor of doubt among the freshman class preceding the assembly, pondering whether or not the speaker would be a repeat of past presentations.

“Honestly, I just thought it was going to be … another advisory speaker that was just going to talk about bullying. I did not expect it to be a person with actual real-life experience … he was really more passionate about it than I ever expected,” Northcutt said.

Bracy is evidently an influential man, with experience and plenty of examples in the area of bullying and other common teenage issues.

“I’ll definitely think twice before jumping to conclusions about anyone,” said Northcutt. “I’m just going to be more aware and looking for little opportunities that I can take to try to help people.”

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Brace Yourselves: Kevin Bracy and the “Each1Reach1” Movement