Miami Springs resident Skyler Odin was just awarded a very prestigious award for “Doing the Right Thing.” Actually, the 13-year-old Odin has done many “right things,” that’s why she won the City of Miami Police Department’s Do the Right Thing Special Recognition Award, which includes a prize trip to New York City.
Last week Skyler attended the Do The Right Thing monthly awards ceremony, where the 10 top winners were honored and recognized.
“It was so cool to be in a room filled with so many amazing and positive kids,” Odin said.
Skyler was joined for the awards ceremony by her parents, Carl and Melanie Odin, and her grandmother, Patti Bradley. They had no idea that Skyler was about to receive the highest of honors with the Special Recognition Award and the trip to NYC.
“She is an inspiration to us,” said Melanie Odin. “She is what every parent could hope for in their child. She is an excellent student and such a great role model for her little sisters. Skyler makes us so proud.”
Skyler was nominated for Do the Right Thing by the Miami Springs Recreation Center. She is an eighth-grader at David Lawrence Jr. K-8 Center, where the support of her school has been crucial for the success of her Anti-Bullying Campaign. Do the Right Thing shared Skyler’s story for the world to see.
Skyler’s story of school bullying sadly does not make her unique; it is what she has done with her experience that makes her story powerful.
While most young girls would be destroyed by incessant taunting, Skyler utilized the ridicule as fuel to get involved in stopping bullying at the middle school level.
Three years ago, Skyler left elementary school to head into the even more uncertain and difficult world of middle school. Rather than allowing her past with bullying to haunt her, she took the opportunity to make a fresh start as an advocate rather than a victim. Determined to not be a bystander and watch other students suffer alone as she had, she went straight to the trust counselor and told her story. She released her built-up pain and expressed how she wanted to use her story to help others.
With the help and guidance of the trust counselor, Skyler became involved in an intense anti-bullying campaign on campus. She began spreading the word to not deal with bullying in silence as she had done for two years. She encouraged victims to speak up and seek help.
Peers who could empathize with the situation, students who have felt the same emotions and been in similar circumstances could share their stories and help each other. There was already a small peer mediation group at her school. Skyler joined in and shared her history. Her passion to stop bullying spread like wildfire through the school. Skyler and her classmates trained in mediation and counseling techniques and were now settling issues between other students.
The concept was so effective, the small mediation group has now grown into an entire elective course, with students vying to get in to help other kids. The irony is that the peer mediators are rarely called upon, because thanks to Skyler’s bravery, the seed had already been planted that bullying is not OK and will not be tolerated.
Skyler has blossomed into a bright eighth-grader with a 4.0 GPA, taking dual enrollment courses. She is vice president of the National Junior Honor Society and has completed more than 600 community service hours as a Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Junior Life Guard where she received the “Best Attitude” and “Most Athletic” junior guard awards. Skyler is also a two-time Junior Olympic swimmer, member of a district championship Little League softball team and, most proudly, an Anti-Bullying Advocate and a Lead Peer Mediator.
Although Skyler is extremely excited about her trip to New York, her focus is on even greater things.
“Knowing that I can help others to work out their problems is such a great feeling,” said Skyler.
Do the Right Thing, Inc. recognizes and rewards children in the community for positive behavior, accomplishments or actions. They distribute T-shirts, personalized Certificates of Recognition and letters of congratulations from the Chief of Police to each and every student who was nominated and sometimes even a trip to New York.
Do the Right Thing provides an opportunity to raise awareness of all the great things the children, like Skyler, do in our community. Nominations can come from police officers, sporting coaches, teachers, community leaders, etc. The community can nominate a child by writing a 500-word essay (or less) about the child. The nominations can be submitted through the Miami Springs Recreation Center located on Westward Drive.