Lifestyle

Tuesday, Nov 12 2013 06:00 AM

Teenage country musician visits schools with bullying prevention message

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Lizzie Sider, a 15-year-old anti-bullying advocate speaks to the students of Golden Hills Elementary School Wednesday, Oct. 30, during an assembly in the school's cafeteria. Sider uses both songs and interactive activities to speak out against childhood bullying. Gregory D. Cook / Tehachapi News

Anti-bullying advocate Lizzie Sider performs with the help of some audience members Wednesday, Oct. 30, at Golden Hills Elementary School. the 15-year-old Florida native is touring schools throughout California to help spread her message that "No one has the power to ruin your day." Gregory D. Cook / Tehachapi News

Lizzie Sider, 15-year-old country musician, paid a visit to Tompkins, Golden Hills, and Cummings Valley elementary schools to promote bullying prevention on Wednesday, Oct. 30.

As part of a two-month tour, Sider is traveling to 80 schools throughout California in a statewide effort to raise awareness about the effects of bullying, and is instructing students on how to intervene when their peers are being teased or ridiculed. Sider is teaming up with the PACER National Bullying Prevention Center to spread her message during what the organization deemed "National Bullying Prevention Month" in 2006.

Sider began performing country music professionally at the age of 13 and, after two years, her career continues to burgeon. She has already performed alongside music stars such as Aaron Tippin and was named an "Artist to Watch in 2013" by the Country Music Association. She is working on a full-length album, which she hopes will be released next year.

Standing in front of more than 200 fourth and fifth graders packed into the cafeteria of Golden Hills elementary, she relayed her own experiences of being bullied as a child, and explained how she found solace in music.

"I would be teased and excluded from games at recess, so I would walk around the playground and sing songs to myself," she said.

Each student was given a wristband with the saying "Nobody Has The Power to Ruin Your Day" -- the motto of her campaign -- printed on them.

The musician concluded the interactive assembly with a Q & A session and a performance of her debut single "Butterfly," which she co-wrote with singer Jamie O'Neal. The song tells the tale of how she learned to overcome being bullied.

Being a youngster herself, Sider explained how her "peer-to-peer" assemblies have made it easier to get her message across to those who are close in age.

"I have always wanted to inspire people," she said. "It is a great feeling when a kid leaves a message on my website telling me how much I have changed his or her life."

Sider began the tour at the beginning of the month and wrap up by Thanksgiving. She said she hopes to continue the campaign in her home state of Florida next year.

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