EDITOR’S NOTE: Last week Kayla Sykes’ column was read by over 50,000 people living in the 419. Her brave, honest words have found her a regular home here on iHeartGlassCity
Written by: Kayla Sykes
I want to start by saying from the bottom of my heart how truly thankful I am for everyone that read my post. I wrote that without intention; I thought maybe a few people would read it. I certainly was not expecting over 20,000 people to read it. You read what I wrote, you believed in what I said, and you shared it.
I received beautiful words from my family, friends, old friends, and acquaintances. They shared my words, and gave me courage.
And then I started to hear from teachers that I work with, and people in the Perrysburg community. Your kind words will never be forgotten, you reminded me how strong our family is. You stood by me, and shared my story during the tragedy we were all feeling. We aren’t just colleagues, we are family. And together we have the power to continue raising awareness on bullying, and suicide.
But then I started to hear from strangers:
“After I shared your article, I was contacted by a friend of mine who is the youth leader of her church in Perrysburg. She asked if you would be willing to come talk to her kids.”
“Thank you for your post on glass city. I also struggle with depression and got diagnosed last year. I still struggle but your post reminded me that I will be better one day.”
“I wanted to personally thank you for sharing your story with the world. Reading your story inspired me so much to share mine as well.”
“I was able to relate to your pain, this has saved lives already.”
“I can’t even explain how much strength this letter proves to our community. P.S. I was/am friends with the perfect Kayla Meeker.”
“As a friend of Kayla Meeker, I wanted to thank you. Your words were perfect.”
And they go on….
Those strangers included teenage girls in our community, even friends of Kayla Meeker. And that was when I realized, that I made the right choice to share my experience.
I had wonderful teachers at Washington Local Schools, teachers that connected with me, and they reached me somehow. They were real. They cared. They listened. They reached me when I was lost; something my parents weren’t even able to do. If Mrs. Jaco, Mrs. Bronikowsk, and Mrs. Mueller wouldn’t have been in my life; I am not sure I would be here.
Today I had to wipe away tears from my three year old, because she was upset about a movie. She wanted Wilbur, from Charlotte’s Web not to be sad. She cried so hard, with a pain so real; because she needed that piggy, she didn’t understand why I couldn’t pull him from the TV. Her emotions were real. Nobody caused those.
Let’s remember that we were all three. Let’s remember that we’ve all cried over our own Wilbur’s. Let’s remember that we go through enough as human beings; that there is absolutely no reason we should inflict anymore pain, on anyone.
This started off without intention, but now I am standing here for Kayla Meeker, and Valerie Bennett. Because I was those girls. My goal is to be a little more like Mrs. Jaco, Mrs. Bronikowski, and Mrs. Mueller. My goal is to end bullying. My goal is to recognize lost children. My goal is to make a difference. And starting within our community we can do just that. Stop talking about people, and start talking to people. Treat people the way you want to be treated.
This is OUR TIME to make a difference.
Kayla Sykes is a mother, public school children’s aid and survivor. To reach Kayla, please email her email her