The bullying started in Cary Trivanovich’s life when he was in middle school. He remembers he didn’t know how to respond to the taunts and threats and how isolated and scared he was to tell anyone he was being bullied.
“I lived in fear that no one could help me because the bullies would get me if I said anything,” Trivanovich said. “That’s a typical reaction for people being bullied.”
Trivanovich is now a successful performer and conference speaker known for his pantomimes. He will be in Statesboro and Bulloch County next week to demonstrate his other expertise – presenting an assembly about bullying at schools and for young people. He has been to more than 3,000 schools to deliver his program and he will speak at four Bulloch schools and the Boys and Girls Club beginning on Monday.
Linda Carlson first contacted Trivanovich about coming to the schools in November. Carlson was the godmother of Larry Parks, who tragically took his own life at the age of 17 after being the victim of vicious bullying. Along with Statesboro High counselor Tiffany Weathers, Carlson started the For the Love of Larry Project with the goal of raising awareness about bullying.
Carlson and Weathers approached the Boys and Girls Club of Bulloch County about possibly becoming part of the well-respected organization.
Executive director Mike Jones said the club was immediately interested.
“Larry Parks was one of the original members of the club when we opened in 2001,” Jones said. “He was a great kid and stayed with us for three years. We were always concerned about Larry and unfortunately lost contact the past couple years.”
Jones said the project’s anti-bullying message “ties in very well with what we promote.”
The club runs a program about bullying every summer that Jones said all members of the club from kindergarten through fifth grade must take.
Carlson and Jones said the club’s board is expected to formally approve making the For the Love of Larry Project part of the Boys and Girls Club at its Jan. 19 meeting.
“I look forward to working with the project and perhaps expanding our efforts to address bullying issues,” Jones said.
Carlson said the Project is still formulating long-term goals and strategies. Along with Statesboro High senior DeAnthony Stephens, who was Parks’ cousin, the project successfully sponsored a basketball tournament in December to raise the funds needed to bring the California-based Trivanovich to Statesboro.”
“All of this has come together so quickly that our focus was first on the tournament and now on Mr. Trvanovich’s visit,” Carlson said. “We haven’t had time to think about much else yet.”
Trivanovich has spoken at thousands of assemblies but he said it is the first time he can recall someone who called him about coming for a program that also is organizing a group to educate others about the dangers of bullying.
“Linda is an amazing lady and it’s been on my mind ever since she told me about Larry’s tragedy,” Trivanovich said.
He said bullying has become a top concern for schools around the nation. Some states have even mandated schools offer programs about bullying.
Trivanovich said kids and teens usually become bullies to a lack of proper guidance at home and learning from role models.”
“Without that guidance, they get what they want through power, either physical or emotional,” he said.
Cyber bullying with cell phone texting, Facebook posts or email have seen a dramatic increase in the past few years, Trivanovich said.
Also, one thing that hasn’t changed much over the years is that people who are being bullied won’t talk about what’s going on with teachers or adults out of fear of the bully and also a fear they’ll be dubbed a “snitch.”
“What criminal has the right to tell their victim not to report a crime,” Trivanovich said. “We are making some inroads into getting more kids being bullied coming forward and also other students stepping in to stop the bullying or report it themselves. There’s still a long way to go, though.”
Trivanovich will speak to three groups at Southeast Bulloch High and Southeast Bulloch Middle on Monday. On Tuesday, he’ll address an assembly at Statesboro High in the morning and then make a presentation at the Boys and Girls Club in the afternoon. He’ll do three more talks at Langston Chapel Middle School on Wednesday.
“I think about Larry every day,” Carlson said. “We hope to help lots of young people, but if we really make a difference with just one, it will all be worth it.”