East Bay students win awards for 60-second anti-bullying videos

Mental health experts with the city of Berkeley are using a student-produced video contest in order to fight bullying.

And on Wednesday evening, there was an award ceremony held at the South Berkeley Senior Center to honor the winners.

 A panel of mental health experts chose three winners: one from an elementary school, one from middle school and one from high school. There were 19 entries from students in Berkeley and Albany.  Each submission was 60 seconds in length.

Each winner received a certificate and a $500 cash award. 
Elan Davis, a fifth grader at Berkeley's Washington Elementary was among the winners. 

He used Legos and stop motion animation to get his message across.
 
"Bullying is bad obviously.  You should stand up to bullies and be creative in how you make things," said 11-year-old Elan," Honestly, I'm kind of surprised I won. I think the other people 's video were really good." 

Another award- winning video was created by Roman Yesche, a freshman at Berkeley High. The 14-year-old said he's seen friends victimized by bullying and cyberbullying. He hopes his video will empower victims and create empathy. 
 
"I  want to make them feel what it is to see someone get bullied and understand what it is," said Roman.

Mental health experts say each entry was chosen for its ability to address the issue in an innovative way that will help remove the stigma. 
 
"People identify with a story much more than they do facts as far as really reaching into somebody's heart," said Crystal Lachman, an assistant mental health clinician who was on the panel who chose the winners,"Even if it's not about the exact person who made the video, when they put it into that format, I thought that it was really impactful."  

Experts say  the videos are a way to shed light on a dark subject such as bullying. 
 
"Being able to share that things hurt and that's okay to admit that, then I think it helps people grow stronger," said Steve Grolnic-McClurg, Berkeley manager of mental health division. 

Roman says he may use his award money to buy a new camera so he can work on other films. When asked what topics he would like to address, he replied, "Racism, sexism...homophobia." 

Experts say they plan to post the award winning videos on the city of Berkeley's website. 
 

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