(WTAJ) — Bullying is unfortunately an ongoing problem that can have a lasting impact on people’s lives.

As a victim of bullying herself, Typhani Russo took action and started the organization Bookworms Against Bullies. 

“It got the worst my senior year of high school,” Russo said. “My main bully was in every one of my classes and immediately started making fun of me and teasing me the first day of school. I got in the car that day and I told my mom what happened and she said, ‘that’s it, you’re not going back to that school.’” 

Russo gets emotional talking about her school years. She still remembers when the bullying started. She was only in elementary school. She now hopes to be an outlet for anyone that needs to talk. 

“I want to be that person for any child that needs to talk to somebody,” Russo explained. “I want to be that person.”

Russo said she is lucky she had her parents as support, but she also turned to her love of reading to cope with her struggles. It’s her outlet. It’s her escape.

“The biggest thing is to find activities that can take your mind off of it and that you enjoy and just find those outlets that can make them happy in life,” Russo said. “And never stop trying to find someone. If people keep turning you away you need to find a new resource and a new person.”

Russo is now a 4th grade teacher at Young Scholars of Central Pennsylvania Charter School in State College where she continues to teach students to always be nice to others. 

By talking about bullying and how the effects of it are everlasting, she’s encouraging people of all ages to stand up for what’s right. 

Although bullying is part of Russo’s story, she’s adding a new chapter by doing what she can to make the world a better and kinder place.

“Everyone is unique and individual and that is what makes the world awesome,” Russo said.

Russo will be at an event Saturday where she’s giving away free books and handing out information about her organization. It’s the “Spring Into Books Festival” hosted by the Bedford Arts Cooperative. You can check it out from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Admission is free, but organizers say donations are appreciated.

Click here to reach out to Russo and learn more about Bookworms Against Bullies.

If you know someone or an organization that’s making it matter in our community you can send an email to msmolka@wtajtv.com or reach out to Maggie on Facebook.

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