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I AM in Iowa Adolescents Making Choices to Control Their Future Teen:Health, Relationship, Body and Sexuality

Tag: bullying

Mar 13

Unexpected Motivation

Posted By iamincontrol | March 13, 2014

Football player
By Anonymous

When I entered high school, I was overweight and out of shape and started football camp. I was teased by upperclassmen, but instead of just letting them keep making fun of me, I decided to do something about it. I used that as motivation to make a change and started working out daily. I ended up losing 25 pounds by the end of my first semester in high school and I was in the best shape of my life.

By the end of football season, I was playing with the varsity team and making an impact as part of the team. By my sophomore year, I had lost 35 pounds and took the starting varsity spot from one of my teammates who had made fun of me every day the year before. That was a better feeling than any type of payback I could have given him. I was angry, but instead of using violence, I used my anger as motivation. That one year of being bullied as a freshman set the tone for the rest of my high school career and taught me that it is not okay for anyone to be bullied because of their weight.

In my case, if I had not been bullied, I would have been content with being overweight and never would have changed my lifestyle. I still use that motivation in college to not be content with choosing a less active lifestyle and doing what makes me happy. While it’s never okay to bully others, I used the situation to my advantage to make a change. It is never too late to become physically active, and even choosing to take the stairs over the elevator is a step in the right direction.

Bullying is a serious issue across the country, and it is always important to stand up for yourself and be happy with who you are.

Mar 6

Who I Was and Who I am

Posted By iamincontrol | March 6, 2014

Teen girl
By Kallie

For many people, high school means trying to fit in and doing what other kids are doing to fit in.  In middle school I was overweight and because of that I was picked on.  I had friends, but I was not in the “popular group.” Before starting high school I lost all my extra weight and I was proud of myself.  I had a new look for myself and had more self-confidence.  All of a sudden I was in the popular group and now I was doing the bullying.  I felt like I had to do what my new friends were doing, so I could stay with the in crowd.

Before I knew it I was making decisions just to stay in the popular crowd that I know my mom and dad did not raise me to make.  I was drinking on a daily basis, and I even picked up smoking.  I lied to my parents and lost their trust.  When I started college I regularly skipped classes.  At this point in my life I had hit rock bottom.  My boyfriend of three years broke up with me, I failed classes, and my drinking led me to an OWI.  As a result of my OWI I lost my license and had to spend time in jail (possibly affecting my chance of getting a job in the future).   At this point I needed to assess my life and change the direction I was going.

I decided I needed to change my whole life and just focus on me.  I needed to figure out what was important in my life and strive to achieve things, like my schooling.  I focused all my attention on my studies and myself.  I joined a gym and worked out on a daily basis.  I quit drinking alcohol, along with pop.  The only places I usually went were school, the gym, and my house.  I once again lost a bunch of weight and had more self-confidence, along with a better overall feeling about myself.  Everyone will make mistakes in their life, but the important part is that you learn from the mistakes and better your future.  I have now graduated with my Dental Hygiene degree and am about to graduate with my bachelor’s degree.  Be the person you want to be and not the person someone else wants you to be just to fit in with the popular crowd.

Jan 16

NFL Player and Bullied Teen Team Up

Posted By iamincontrol | January 16, 2014

Today we’re sharing a story of hope and overcoming obstacles.  Victor Cruz, wide receiver for the New York Giants, was discriminated against and bullied when he was younger.  Now he’s helping someone else who’s been bullied: a gay teen named Joey.  In the video below, Victor invites Joey to join him in the New York Giants locker room to help him overcome his fear of being bullied there.

It doesn’t matter what it’s for: bullying hurts.  By banding together and standing up to bullying like Victor and Joey and did, we can make it easier to get through it and work to stop it.  It’s important to stay strong and remember that it gets better.  Learn how you can take action and stand up against bullying at

Read about more NFL players who have overcome bullying and are helping others here.

If you want to learn more about Joey’s group, The Equality Project, visit their website or their Facebook page.

You are in control of standing up to bullying.

Jan 14

Mean Girls: My Anorexia Story

Posted By iamincontrol | January 14, 2014

Bullied teenage girl
By Samantha

During my teenage years I suffered from self-esteem issues and anorexia. The girls on my volleyball team were extremely mean to me. Growing up I was really athletic and always had more muscle than other girls, so they called me fat. When I was 14, I convinced myself that I looked disgusting and needed to lose a lot of weight. Every time I looked in the mirror I picked out my flaws and thought about how much weight I needed to lose. Eventually the pounds started coming off and I was starting to get skinnier.

However, my self-esteem did not go up. It actually sky rocketed down. I started to get extremely sick and passed out often. I couldn’t participate in the sports I loved because I was so unhealthy. Eventually the school contacted my parents about the passing out episodes, and I had to confront them about my issues. The talk with my parents was very difficult, but I’m glad it happened. I needed a wake up call.

Read More

Jan 2

Hotline Round Up

Posted By iamincontrol | January 2, 2014

You never know when you’re going to need to talk to someone.  Today we’ve put together a list of some numbers you might find helpful when you’re going through something.

Teen Line 1-800-443-8336
You can call the Teen Line 24/7 to ask any questions you have about your health or a problem in your life.  They will answer your questions or connect you with someone who can.  You can also chat online with a counselor 8AM-8PM Monday through Friday.

Your Life Iowa1-855-581-8111
This 24-hour, confidential hotline is available to anyone who wants to find information about how to identify and deal with bullying or the topic of suicide. You can also text 85511 3-11PM everyday or chat online.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
This 24-hour, toll-free, confidential suicide prevention hotline is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Calls are routed to the nearest crisis center in a national network of more than 150 crisis centers.*

The Trevor Lifeline (for GBLTQ Youth)1-866-488-7386 (1-866-4-U-TREVOR)
Providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth.*

National Sexual Assault Hotline1-800-656-HOPE (1-800-656-4673)
Sponsored by the Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network (RAINN). Online Hotline is also available (click the link).*

National Runaway Hotline1-800-786-2929 (RUNAWAY)
24-hour crisis line. It’s anonymous, confidential and free.*

Love is Respect: National Dating Abuse Helpline1-866-331-9474 (TTY 1-866-331-8453)
24-hour help for teens and young adults. Peer advocates are trained to offer support, information and advocacy to those involved in dating abuse relationships as well as concerned parents, teachers, clergy, and others.*

CDC-INFO 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) or TTY 1-888-232-6348
Formerly known as the CDC National STD and AIDS Hotline, counselors at this hotline sponsored by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now respond to questions about personal health issues, not just HIV and sexually transmitted infections. Available 24 hours a day, in English and Spanish.*

National STD (STI) Hotline1-800-227-8922
The hotline is available Monday through Friday, 9 am to 6 pm EST. The American Social Health Association website offers information about sexual health, healthy relationships, STIs, and more. Check out – a site developed for teens and their parents.*

Always reach out to someone when you have a problem or just feel like you need to talk.  You are in control of your life.

*Hotline description from

Dec 26

A Big Decision

Posted By iamincontrol | December 26, 2013

A big decision
By Madeline

At the age of thirteen I made one of the biggest decisions anyone can make: to have sex for the first time. At the time I believed I was ready, but looking back on it, I should’ve taken many more things into consideration. I was dating a boy I had only dated for less than a year when I chose to make the decision to have sex for the first time. I had anticipated having sex for the first time at a much older age, but many factors such as peer pressure and pressure to have sex from my boyfriend were what prompted my decision to have sex.

Sexual pressure from my boyfriend and peer pressure to have sex came in many different ways. My boyfriend would do things such as coerce me to go further than I wanted to, but since I didn’t want him to break up with me I decided to do things I didn’t feel comfortable doing. Other things such as comments about his brother’s age at first sexual experience and wanting to “beat his record” caused more pressure to have sex. Along with sexual pressure from my boyfriend, his group of friends, who were now my friends, made numerous comments suggesting that I have sex with him.

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Dec 12

Think B4 You Speak

Posted By iamincontrol | December 12, 2013

LGBTQ heart
By Bobbie Jo

That’s so gay. We hear the phrase so many times that it no longer makes an impact, right? I’m writing this post at nine o’clock in the morning and the word “fag” has been used on Twitter more than 15,000 times. These words do make an impact, a big one. They are hurtful, offensive and damaging to our fellow classmates and peers.

Nine out of ten Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) students reported being harassed at school last year. Part of this is because of the common use of anti-LGBTQ words like gay, fag, homo or dyke. These words are often said carelessly and not intended to be hurtful, but they are hurting many people. These words are not only hurtful to the LGBTQ community, but also the heterosexual/straight community, as many heterosexual students have friends, relatives or neighbors who identify as LGBTQ.

So I challenge you to think before you speak. Sounds simple, right? Imagine how we could change the atmosphere of our school if we all thought before we spoke. We could make it a place where people felt comfortable about who they were. We could also create new and different catch phrases like, That’s so… obtuse, weak, gucci, absurd…the list is endless. So get creative, not offensive!

Take the pledge to Think B4 You Speak!

You are in control of your words.

Nov 26

Standing Up to a Controlling Friend

Posted By iamincontrol | November 26, 2013

One friend comforting another
By Elizabeth

When I was in junior high, I became close with this girl Megan*. She was the type of girl that would take over any situation and would be upset if she wasn’t the center of attention. I felt cool that she had chosen me as her friend, and I followed her lead with whom we were friends and what we did on weekends. I never went anywhere without her, and if she was sick of me that weekend, I just wouldn’t hear from her until school on Monday when she would act like everything was fine.

We had a close group of girlfriends that I considered to be my best friends who would do anything for me. We would call ourselves the junior plastics, but then one of the girls started to deviate from the group. Our friend Gina* started seeing a boy who went to a different school. She talked about him a lot and was really happy to be in a relationship, but Megan would always tell her to shut up when she would talk about him. Even if the rest of us wanted to hear what she had to say, we just let Megan act this way towards Gina.

Read More

Nov 14

Video Contest Winners: Governor’s Bullying Prevention Summit 2013

Posted By iamincontrol | November 14, 2013

Governors bullying prevention summit 2013
We have a winner!

The Governor’s Bullying Prevention Summit took place this week in Des Moines.  They had a video contest going on, and 30 amazing high schools and middle schools across the state submitted entries.

The top three winners were:

1st– Algona High School

2nd– Northwood-Kensett Junior-Senior High School

3rd – Clarion-Goldfield Middle School

Congrats to the winners and all the great entries that were submitted!  You can check out the winning videos and the 27 other entries by visiting this site.  Once you get there, click on the drop down menu that says “All Channels” and choose “Bully Prevention Entries.”  We hope you watch the videos and become inspired to stand up to bullying in your school.

You are in control of making your school a safe, supportive environment.

Nov 12


Posted By iamincontrol | November 12, 2013

Today we’re highlighting a great resource called Proud2Bme.  The site is devoted to promoting a healthy body image in teens and has really awesome stories and resources, like this video from a teen who had low self-esteem and body image due to bullying.

You can visit Alex’s site here at

Some of the other things you’ll find on Proud2Bme are: