Meet STOMP Out Bullying's Teen Ambassador Alumni
The "Stand UP" Generation
Ever since she can remember, Sophia Costanzo’s lucky number has oddly been the number 13. Born on Friday the 13th, while others perceived the number 13 to be unlucky, for Sophia, the number thirteen has been a source of luck.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, 18 year-old Sophia who attended Notre Dame Academy High School as an honors student. She has a passion for sports, especially basketball, and the first sport she played was baseball. She was one of the only girls on a boys’ little league baseball team, and through that experience, Sophia was able to learn to be mentally tough, confident, and passionate.
Some of her leadership opportunities include: working as a volunteer for The Association of Catholic Student Councils, serving as a member of her high school’s student council, president of the film club she started, an ambassador for her school, and a team-captain on her freshman year JV basketball team. Sophia also has a job working at her elementary school daycare and enjoys working with kids.
In eighth grade, Sophia experienced bullying first-hand. False rumors about her began to spread around class. As more people heard the rumors, they began to ignore her. When she would sit down at a lunch table, anyone sitting down would stand up and switch tables. Sometimes, a group of girls would ask people in her class if they hated Sophia. If they did, they joined a group of people who had planned to hack into her social media accounts and post inappropriate content falsely in her name. In addition to this, on her basketball team during practice, teammates would push her and physically harm her intentionally. The bullying continued in high school when she was cornered against lockers in the hallway. This taught her how important it is to stand up for herself so that people understand that she is no longer scared.
Going through these experiences had a lot of negative effects for Sophia. At first, she begged her parents not to send her to school, but later realized that she couldn’t let the bullies win. After that, she got up every day, ready to face any adversity that would have stood in her way.
Similar to the number thirteen, Sophia decided that she had to take the negative experience she had, or the “unlucky” experience, and make it positive, or “lucky” by helping others. She took up public speaking and community service, and continued to spread awareness for the end of bullying by discussing cyber safety and bringing STOMP Out Bullying’s Blue Shirt Day™ World Day Of Bullying Prevention to her school.
Sophia feels that by becoming a teen ambassador she is helping people who may have been in the position she has been in. In addition to this, she has used her love of film making to create PSA and commercials for anti-bullying awareness.
For people who have experienced bullying in any way, whether the victim, bystander, or bully, she gives them this advice: “See the goodness in everyone. It may be hard, but I have found that by finding something good in every, single, individual human being, I have been able to be happy. Don’t let your past define you. Take your experiences, move on, and make your story positive.”
In the future, Sophia’s goals are to attend the University of Notre Dame, study film, and eventually become a film director. She hopes that through her movies, she will be able to convey a positive message through the media and share her own experiences with people in hope of educating and inspiring others.
“You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.” –We Bought a Zoo