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Brandon Greene: Creating A Better Community

President Barack Obama greets Brandon Greene during a conversation on bullying with a small group from the Conference on Bullying Prevention, in the Oval Office, March 10, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)What would happen if students took it upon themselves to improve their schools and communities? That’s the question that Brandon Greene, currently a rising sophomore at Burrillville High School in Rhode Island, asked himself a few years ago.

As part of a 6th grade school project, Greene created a small committee to give back to his school and community and spread an anti-bullying message. This committee, that eventually became A Better Community (ABC), works to create a positive school environment and encourage students to step up and stop bullying when they witness it. One of their first projects was passing out “Bully Free” buttons, but ABC has also expanded its mission to promoting good deeds. Last winter, the committee held a coat drive and collected 114 coats in the eight days before Christmas. The group distributed coats to each and every person on the Burrillville waiting list.

It’s pretty amazing that what started out as a school project years earlier would land Greene in the Oval Office! Greene’s actions against bullying were honored at last March’s White House Conference on Bullying Prevention, where he had a chance to share his story with President Obama and the First Lady. For Greene, meeting the President was the highlight of the conference: “The fact that I was sitting in the Oval Office talking with the highest authority in the United States was just unbelievable,” said Greene. “I will never forget that for the rest of my life.”

Today, Greene is continuing his work with ABC by helping the committee’s new leaders learn the ropes and increase ABC’s impact. When asked what advice he would give students looking to help others being bullied, Greene had this to offer: “Find a school teacher to help get something started in their school. If they have ideas, try to put them to work and see where it goes. Any little bit helps people who are being bullied and leading a group or project could be fun and a good learning experience too. Who knows, maybe they could meet the President someday!”

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