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“A SCHOOLGIRL from Ramsgate who used her experiences at the hands of bullies to help other young people has won an award for volunteering.
Sophie-Ann Harajda, 16, is regional winner in the Vinspired National Awards’ Bringing Communities Together category.
She is as an online mentor for the Future You project and became involved with the BeatBullying campaign after her own experiences.
Sophie-Ann, a pupil at the Marlowe Academy, said: “Being bullied is so soul-destroying, but volunteering and helping others has also helped me to begin to feel good about myself again. It is a great experience and you learn a lot about yourself. I feel so happy knowing that my actions have somehow helped others. I think the feeling of helping others should be something that everyone experiences at some point in their lives.”
In July last year Sophie-Ann started her work with the Future You project, which offers guidance to young people aged between 14 and 25.
This year she became a peer mentor, helping other young people get back into education and offering advice.
As part of her work, she mentors people with low confidence, drawing from her own experiences of bullying.
Vinspired chief executive Terry Ryall said: “Sophie-Ann is a complete inspiration. As a regional winner in the Bringing Communities Together category you need to demonstrate a complete dedication to volunteering and show how you have built positive relationships, brought people from diverse backgrounds together and strengthened communities.
“Sophie-Ann has done all this and more and should be immensely proud.”
The regional winners will be shortlisted for national awards, with the winners revealed at a ceremony in March.
For more information see http://www.beatbullying.org”
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