Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 3/13/20- Sauimalae (Sim) and Fetu are San Diego natives, raised by a single father with strong family values, incredible work ethics, and determination. He ensured through his love, understanding, and compassion that they would embrace and love themselves for who they are and their diverse family culture, valuing their uniqueness. Much of his life was focused on giving them the best life he could, regardless of any circumstance. Sim is married with twin girls and is a cosmetologist currently practicing as a hair/make-up artist, who has instructed various cosmetology classes. She has been active within the community through various service projects spanning from homeless shelters to community awareness and fundraising, focusing on the well-being of others. Fetu is married and completed a service-term with Big Brothers Big Sisters, working with youth and adults within her community through AmeriCorps. She received her degree in Health Administration with a focus on patient Advocacy. In 2008, she opened her wedding/event planning business, and continued serving her community spanning projects from Make A Wish Foundation, Habitat for Humanity to Epilepsy Foundation. She eventually sold the business, transitioning back to San Diego as a photographer and life-empowerment coach, currently. On October 01, 2018 (in response to ongoing and past experiences, and growing occurrences of bullying in the community) the sister team, Sim and Fetu Co-Founded Be Like You™Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
What led you to start Be Like You™Inc.?
Sim: We have experienced bullying and its effects directly: My daughters were bullied at a young age in school and it continued off and on through half of their high school years. A very difficult day came when one of them was told to end her life on social media.
Fetu: I was bullied from elementary school throughout high school physically, verbally and indirectly with vandalism to the point of changing schools my senior year of High School. Through our own experiences and the stories of others’ experiences, we felt passionate to take action and have a positive impact, to reduce the effects and incidence bullying has on individuals.
You create a positive “buzz” in your communities, cultivating education, and providing encouragement and empowerment within the youth and communities. Tell us about your programs.
Thank you for asking, we are happy to share about our Educational Interactive Bullying Prevention. Our bullying prevention educational programs allow us to educate with resourceful material with an interactive approach, so we can connect with our audience through our presentations. We share authentic real case bullying stories, current data about bullying, solutions, and consequences. Each element is interactive in its “own way”, which allows a variety of our audience to participate. The structure of our educational programs are effective and efficient because we customize them to each age group (youth to adults).
Our programs involve:
- Critical Thinking to identify behaviors of and solutions to bullying,
- Vulnerability to release pain and fears about their bullying experience, and share opportunities to safely be an Upstander.
- Encouragement to build strength and confidence in who we are as individuals and how we can move forward beyond our past experiences.
- Connectivity to value others for the qualities and differences they have that make them uniquely them, and
- Compassion to embrace each other, to have the courage to share with an adult or someone they trust about the bullying behavior and the challenges of the impact.
As part of our bullying prevention educational programs, Me and Sim are able to connect with individuals through vulnerability, compassion and confidence showing each individual they are valued and through this connection, support and encourage them to be authentically them, giving them the space to open-up validating their experiences and emotions, and helping them to move beyond the positions of being bullied or bullying others, to a more confident and positive self.
Fetu you are a life empowerment coach, how has this translated to your work for your non-profit.
As a life empowerment coach, I believe relatability and compassion to others is essential for strong and healthy relationships. I am able to apply a variety of my coaching skills, knowledge and experience with our bullying prevention to help identify issues, challenges and create action plans/solutions. Listening, observing, interacting and encouraging participation and helping others to understand the importance of compassion and connectivity. When I’m coaching, I advise through an understanding of learning about the individual, the challenges and help them to discover their joy, create a plan of action with solutions and resources to live a positive life while purposefully serving their community. The key is connecting. I’m able to help them discover or identify their strengths of character and interests. Sharing how the choices we make impact yourself and others. Similarly, relating it to bullying, when we know and love ourselves for what “makes us, us”, then we can better connect with others and embrace them for who they are, reducing the incidence and effects of bullying.
Sim, you are a cosmetologist and mom, How has this translated to your work for your non-profit.
It gives me the opportunity to share with my clients about our organization and to get the “buzz” out. What I mean by that is, I get to share with them the importance of what we are doing, the impact, how Be Like You™ Inc., was ignited by the bullying incidences of my girls, and as a parent, I am able to understand various perspectives. I share my experience, compassion and the importance of why more education is needed to prevent bullying and how they can either help or be involved.
What are some of your goals for 2020?
Greater outreach to share and present our Educational Programs into more schools and groups, (youth and adults).
Sponsors, Grants, and Volunteers so we can improve community outreach for our educational programs to increase awareness and prevention of bullying. Promoting our brand message to empower each other to Be Like You sharing kindness and “embrace individuality”.
Please share your upcoming events and how we can get involved.
Yes, we would love for you to be involved! We are in need of volunteers to help set up our community awareness table, kids crafts table which will need “hands on deck” with the kiddos and share our information and the event organized by SD Pop Up Playdate.
Currently, we have an upcoming event March 28, 2020
Luckey Climbers Anniversary 10:00am-2:00pm
The Forum Carlsbad 1923 Calle Barcelona, Carlsbad CA., 92009
What are some of the challenges that you have seen in the community?
Lack of education for students, parents, and adults generally speaking. These are just a few of the areas we are seeing challenges. Understanding the effects bullying has on an individual, what to “look for”, how to respond, solutions and consequences. Some of the detrimental effects on one’s mental health from being bullied include lower self-esteem, lack of confidence and depression. Statistics show a high percentage (80%) of the time, others witness bullying happening (Bystander). We are focusing education on how to stand up for themselves and others (Upstander), and why it’s important. In most cases (57%), an Upstander intervening during a bullying act, stops the bullying within 10 seconds [stopbullying.gov: Espalage, D., Pigott, T., Polanin, J. (2012) “A Meta-Analysis of School-Based Bullying Prevention Programs’ Effects onBystander Intervention Behavior.” School Psychology Review, Volume 41, No. 1, 47-65]
Can you share an example of someone who has benefitted from your program?
Having one share their personal story of being bullied had an impact on not only herself but on her mother and the entire audience. It brought awareness that no matter how you look or what you do, you can be a target. It affected her self worth and confidence. She shared this for the first time publicly at our Fashion Show Fundraiser in January. She is healing every day from what happened to her, building strength and confidence by modeling and her involvement in Beauty pageants. We completed a focus group with a Girl Scout troop with youth and parents/adults in attendance. During our discussion, one of the parents opened up and shared her story; it was emotional, unsure what she was supposed to do during the time the bullying was happening. During this focus group session, the group identified methods and solutions for addressing bullying occurrences and offered support to each other. We can share more stories, we’d rather meet you and share with you in person in your groups or schools.
Here’s a glimpse on the impact of how our educational programs are effective and efficient. In one case, holding an audience of over 100 attendees (2-minute bullying experience shared) with a five-minute presentation about Be Like You™ Inc., and the other case 10-12 attendees (45-minute interactive presentation). In both “cases” the audience listened and witnessed pain. The audience/group connected with the speaker and each other through a sense of understanding of the lasting effects of bullying, and sharing compassion and encouragement for positive change. Both examples illustrate the importance of education and the difference it makes when people genuinely connect, acknowledge and understand they have a choice, and when they utilize positivity and compassion, conscious positive and compassionate actions follow. It is truly amazing and inspirational to witness the connection between others and the understanding of the importance and impact of sharing vulnerability, compassion, and encouragement. Regardless of whether it’s 2 minutes or 2 hours, youth or adult, the efficiency and effectiveness of our programs are demonstrated through the end result: a greater understanding of the consequences of our actions; the positive impact of genuinely embracing one another regardless of age, color, lifestyle, ethnicity, hobbies, etc.; and the development of more and stronger UpStanders than when we first walked in to share our educational presentations/programs.
Do you have any additional thoughts?
Bullying is a learned behavior; through education, increased awareness and positive actions bullying behaviors can be changed and prevented. We need to decrease the high statistics of Bullying worldwide and that starts with each of us, so we need your help. We start in our “backyard”, moving into statewide to nationwide with our bullying prevention educational programs and to share our stories and let our youth know they are important as they are, and to be confident to Be Like You!