Greetings once again from the team at the OM@home blog, a blog about children and young people, written for children and young people . . . . For young people just like you, about young people who inspire us here at OM HQ.
Young people like Chy Johnson and Carson Jones . . . .
She suffers from a rare disorder, the result of a genetic birth defect. Chy's brain operates at third-grade level. Being different, she has long been bullied.
Carson is a senior at Queen Creek. He is popular and he is cool. He is the starting quarterback for the football team. Bullying has never presented a problem.
Their friendship - it must be said - is not a conventional one . . .
But thanks to Carson - and his remarkable team-mates - Chy's life has improved beyond measure.
'She'd come home each night crying and upset,' explains Chy's mom, Liz. 'The permanent smile that she had, the gleam in her eye, that had gone.'
One day, the bullies moved on from pushing Chy in the hallways and started throwing trash. Enough, Liz decided, was enough.
Using Facebook, she sent Carson, a friend of the family, the following message, 'Just keep your ear to the ground. Maybe get me some names?' Carson did better than that.
The following day, he invited Chy to sit at his table - a place usually reserved for the football team, the cool kids - for lunch.
'I just thought that if [the bullies] saw her with us every day, then perhaps they'd start treating her better,' he says. 'Telling on kids might just have caused more problems'.
It isn't just Carson in Chy's corner. Tucker Workman - the team's starting running back - has begun to escort her to classes. Cornerback Colton Moore likes to save her a seat next to the football players during lessons.
'I was parking my car yesterday and I saw a couple of the guys talking to her and being nice,' says offensive lineman Bryce Oakes. 'I think it's making a difference around here.'
It sure is making a difference to Chy, who says '[The bullies] aren't mean to me because all my boys love me so much'. Liz says the smiles have returned and that the gleam is back in her eye.
'It feels good to know that we helped someone else,' says Tucker. 'You know, we're doing good and everything for us is going well. But other people need to feel good too.'
Carson, it seems, is a reluctant hero. He didn't even tell his mom, who didn't find out until she read about this in a local newspaper. That he has Liz's gratitude for standing up, reaching out and making a difference is obvious.
'I thank Carson every time I see him,' she adds. 'He's just an amazing young man [and] he's going to go far in life'.
This is an inspirational tale that strikes a chord here at OM HQ. We all have it in us to stand up for what is right and to make life better for others. We just have to do it.
Here's to Carson, here's to Chy, and here's to her boys . . .