Teen asks community to #BlueUP

Kaydence Mckuhn visited a preschool on Sept. 11 to talk with the students about bullying. Wearing her crown and sash, she also read them “The Juice Box Bully,” to teach about the importance of “being an upstander and not a bystander.” (Courtesy photo)

Newport Middle School student leads bullying awareness campaign

NEWPORT — Kaydence Mckuhn has a favor to ask of the community: wear blue on Monday, Oct. 7, because this easy task is a stepping stone to a harder conversation.

Mckuhn, 13, currently holds the title of Miss Oregon Jr High America and is leading a number of events in October for Bullying Awareness Month as one of her community service projects she must complete to qualify for a top spot in the national Miss High School America competition in June.

On Oct. 7, Mckuhn is asking the whole of Lincoln County to join a worldwide bullying awareness campaign by wearing blue and posting about it on social media with the hashtag #BlueUP. Community members can see Mckuhn joined by her volleyball teammates wearing blue uniforms and bows for their game that day. The Lincoln County School District posted information on the #BlueUP on Thursday, joining Mckuhn’s efforts to spread the word.

“The school district heard what they were doing at the middle school for Monday (Oct. 7) and then her other challenge days and shared it with in the district and on their Facebook to have all district schools join,” said April Munoz, Mckuhn’s mother. “Kaydence was so excited about this.”

But Mckuhn’s work isn’t done after Oct. 6 — she has a list of other efforts she’s making to spread the message not just efficiently, but effectively. At Newport Middle School, where Mckuhn attends, she is leading challenge days to get people out of their shells and talking to people — especially people they might not normally socialize with. Additionally, she has planned visits to other schools with School Resource Officer Thomas Lekas to speak to students on the importance of standing up for others and being inclusive in activities.

“I feel like there’s a lot of bullying at school,” said Mckuhn, “and I know a lot of people who get left out of things, and so I think it’s really important. Especially at my school, people can be really rude. And so, by doing the campaign and stuff, it helps all of us get closer and makes it so that people aren’t getting bullied.”

The community can follow Mckuhn’s efforts to spread the message of kindness and inclusion through the hashtag #itskooltobekindwithkaydence.

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