Student lends an ear to victims of bullying

Marlboro youth has launched Aidan’s Voice on Facebook

Staff Writer

 Aidan Benavides Aidan Benavides Recent nationwide headlines have focused on bullying and the tragic events, including youths committing suicide, that have unfolded as a result of such actions.

Aidan Benavides thought that if the people who are being bullied had a strong support system, things would be different.

Aidan, 12, of Marlboro, Monmouth County, is familiar with the hurtful words that adolescents can sling back and forth at one another without batting an eye. The young man enjoys theater, singing and taking part in the Marlboro Memorial Middle School Drama Club, all of which have resulted in some unkind words being aimed his way.

Aidan’s mother, Danielle Benavides, saidAidan has been told by his family to ignore the words of the bullies, especially because he knows what he wants out of life.

Benavides said Aidan was strong enough to face the peers who picked on him every day and to brush aside their hurtful words.

Recently, an incident occurred during which things went too far. Aidan asked that the nature of the incident not be discussed publicly.

His mother said school administrators were wonderful in quickly reprimanding the student who committed the misdeed.

Aidan said there needs to be a deterrent that will prevent people from acting as a bully because they know there will be consequences to their actions.

Following that recent situation, Aidan started thinking what things might be like for him if he did not have the wonderful support system of his family members and friends. The seventh-grader said that when hurtful things would happen, his friends and family members would rally around him, offering comforting words of support.

“I want to educate people and be the voice for the people who feel like they don’t have one,” he said.

Aidan said he hopes that through his Internet website, the victims of bullying will realize they outnumber the bullies who are out there.

He said bullying occurs in many ways, including people being picked on for wearing glasses, for being overweight, for their ethnicity or for their perceived sexual orientation.

The Benavides family is helping Aidan in his mission with Aidan’s Voice.

Thus far through his Facebook page, Aidan has directed some light into the lives of his followers with motivational messages and quotes. As of April 28, Aidan’s Voice on Facebook had 382 followers.

The website has an email address that allows anyone who needs someone to speak with to reach out to Aidan and his family.

The young man said he has already had people from around the country reach out to him in the month since the site went live.

Aidan said his primary advice to the people who have reached out to him is to be themselves and to know they will succeed in the future despite what their bullies may say.

“Simple words can hurt, and think before you speak,” Aidan said, hoping that people will learn to watch what they say to their peers.

Danielle Benavides said she monitors the messages that come into the website and said that so far they have all been very positive in response to Aidan’s desire to help others.

People of all ages have also written in to offer Aidan words of encouragement in his situation.

“We want to be a comforting voice to the people who are bullied, so they feel that they can talk to me or anyone,” Aidan said.

Anyone who believes they need someone to talk to about being bullied may send an email to Aidan Benavides at aidans