In an effort to recognize deserving South Florida youth who promote the values of the Be a STAR anti-bullying program, World Wrestling Entertainment in conjunction with the Miami Herald honored three youth before a WWE show at the BB&T Center in Sunrise.
Logan Alvarez of Homestead, Eli Bloom of Kendall and Tristan Castillo of South Miami exemplified the Be a STAR (Show Tolerance And Respect) mantra.
Be a STAR was founded by The Creative Coalition and WWE in April 2011. The mission is to ensure a positive and equitable social environment for everyone regardless of age, race, religion or sexual orientation through grassroots efforts beginning with education and awareness.
Be a STAR promotes positive methods of social interaction and encourages people to treat others as equals and with respect because everyone is a star in their own right.
WWE superstars and divas often make school visits throughout the country (and even internationally) throughout the year, discussing how they dealt with bullying and stereotypes growing up and even into adulthood. They encourage students to Be a STAR -- including be positive, ignore cyber-bullying, help others and tell someone (an adult and a friend) if bullying occurs.
Coaches, family members, friends and teacher nominated South Florida youth, describing how that youth has been a STAR at home and/or school, in the neighborhood or within a activity, club or sports environment.
Alvarez, Bloom and Castillo were invited as Be a STAR finalists to the WWE show at the BB&T Center on Friday, June 7 in Sunrise. Each finalist received two tickets to the show and a WWE prize pack, courtesy of WWE.
Each also received a club parking pass, courtesy of the BB&T Center, home to the Florida Panthers hockey team. Formerly the Bank Atlantic Center, the award-winning arena has housed many WWE shows.
Bloom was drawn as the grand prize winner and participated in a pre-show, meet-n-greet at the BB&T Center. A well-mannered youth, Bloom received autographs and posed for photos with WWE superstar The Miz, who is a strong advocate of Be a STAR and one of its key speakers.
“[WWE] asked us who would like to be involved, and I was the first to raise my hand,” The Miz said. “When you look at WWE and our audience, it’s kids and young adults. I think [bullying] is a big problem in the world. So we’re making a difference.”
The Miz continued: “When I was a kid growing up in Parma, Ohio, I remember getting picked on all the time, being told I wasn’t good enough. I wish I had a WWE superstar or anyone that would have told me to be more vocal about what’s going on. Tell somebody. Tell a parent. Tell an adult. Tell one of your friends. Maybe that will stop the bully.
“Having someone actually motivate people by saying, ‘It’s not cool to pick on someone. Get the person away from the bully, and tell the bully to stop’ is very important. Let’s face it. This is a big problem going on right now in the world.”
These days physical bullying is just one type of bullying.
“Kids, adults, bullying never stops, especially with Cyber-bullying nowadays,” The Miz said. “Twitter, Facebook, texting, there’s bullying non-stop. You look at Twitter and how negative people are on it. I get Tweets that are very negative. I get Facebook messages. You see stuff on YouTube.