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How I Overcame Bullying: A 13-Year-Old Actress’ Inspiring Story

"All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me... You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you." - Walt Disney


This is the first video in a series highlighting resilient and inspiring people who have successfully overcome difficult obstacles in their lives. Today, we highlight the strength and confidence of Rachel Arianna, a 13-year-old from Trumbull, CT. Rachel has seen both success and bullying due to that success in her life. Rachel is an actress who has been in many commercials, Saturday Night Live and the movie "Lies I Told My Little Sister." She was bullied through social media and in school.

She believes that to stop bullying, both in and out of school, students need to talk to each other about it — and use the arts to kick start that conversation. Rachel started the program Words Can Soar in January of 2015 and created a large, anti-bullying mural in front of her school along with eight of her friends and Hillcrest Middle School.

“You can do a lot of different things as long as we are united in stepping up to bullying together," she added. “Nobody should feel like the victim of bullying and nobody should feel the need to do the bullying, and the best way to talk having peers talk to peers about it so we can all begin to understand each other better." It's hard to believe Rachel is only 13. She is such an incredible young lady. She can and WILL make a difference in this world! See more about what she is doing by checking out her website and Facebook page.

This video was produced by Tracy Chevrier and shot/edited by John Houghton. Want to see more HooplaHa Originals? Check out the HooplaHa YouTube page…and don't forget to smile!

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When Music and Cultural Heritage Combine, You Get INTEMPO

In a sun-filled church in Stamford, Connecticut, a small group of young students sit with their musical instruments. Among them are many instruments you'd expect to see in a classroom—like violins and guitars—and also several that you may have never seen before, like the South American Charango and a Caribbean steel drum. That would give you your first hint that you're not looking at a standard music class. This is an INTEMPO class.

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