A 16-year-old from Plant City is trying to help other young people stand up to bullies. Blake Stafford made an anti-bullying video called "Fearfully and Wonderfully Made: An Anti-Bullying Announcement."
Blake, a junior at Plant City High School, says he was bullied for many years and it hurt.
"They constantly picked on me because I was different, because I looked different, because I sounded different," the teenager said. "There was multiple times I came home and I cried or I just listened to my music loud and I just drowned out the world."
Blake made the video for a scholarship competition. He asked three friends from his youth group at church to be in the video with him. At the beginning, they each hold a sign. They read "nobody", "freak", "worthless", and "nerd."
Nineteen-year-old Julian Brownlow holds the "nerd" sign.
LINK: Watch the video here.
"I was always with the math clubs and the AP sciences, and that word got thrown around a lot," said Julian, who is a volunteer staff member of Blake's youth group.
The video depicts the transformation that Blake experienced. He says he reached a point where he stopped caring what the bullies had to say.
"There may be pain in the night, but joy comes in the morning," said Black, reciting one of the graphics in the video. "Freak is a compliment... Your words don't mean anything to me. They hurt me, but they won't affect me."
Blake's mother Krysta Johnson says she's inspired by her son.
"Self-confidence and self-worth begins at home," said Johnson. "It has been a process of watching him grow into the person that he is."
Julian was never bullied, but he watched it happen.
"Looking back, I wish I would've said something and stood up for these kids," he said. "I try to encourage the kids to do what Blake did and be comfortable with who they are and not let other people's words affect them."
The video ends with each young person tearing up the sign they were holding and saying the line:
"I'm not who you think I am. I'm not who you think I am."
They want other kids who are bullied to stand up and say the same. He says his faith in God also helped him get through the tough times. Blake is still waiting to hear whether he won the scholarship.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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