DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Bullied for her Mexican heritage, a Delray Beach girl used to go to school everyday with tears in her eyes. Gisselle Aguirre, 10, didn’t know how to talk about the hurt she was feeling until she found support through counseling with the Children’s Home Society.
“She was bullied and trashed by a bunch of girls that referred to her as the ‘ugly mexican girl’. Reports were coming in from her teacher that she would arrive in class and she would be very teary and didn’t really want to go to school and no one knew why,” said Marla Green, a clinical counselor with the Children’s Home Society.
Green and Aguirre connected and have been working together for the last several months. After weeks of counseling, Aguirre finally opened up and explained to Green the hurt she was feeling.
“Those girls bullied me every time, every time when I went to recess or everywhere, they always looked at me and stared at me,” said Aguirre.
Aguirre and Green worked together to explore healthy coping skills that empowered her Mexican roots like singing and dancing to to Aguirre’s favorite American-Mexican icon, Selena Quintana, who also overcame bullying in school.
“Not that long ago, Gisselle was speaking to me about how she loved Selena and how Selena was her mentor, culturally. Selena sustained bullying and teasing growing up and Gisselle felt that she was able to identify with Selena. I suggested that she do a Selena video for our website and at first she didn’t want to do it and I said that’s fine why don’t you just think about it. Two weeks later a beautiful video showed up in my email and it was incredible to see the courage, the pride,” said Green.
Aguirre has grown in her self-love and learned to express her heritage proudly. Now, she is singing, dancing and inspiring others to find their voice.
“With my singing, I can help them. If they see me on the video, they will say, ‘Oh maybe I will try the same thing,” said Aguirre.
Aguirre is now excited and motivated to show other kids that it’s okay to speak up and talk about their adversities in order to overcome it.
I’m very, very proud of her. She seems to have merged everything that she’s learned and how to feel beautiful inside and out, be proud of her heritage and how to stick up for herself through adversity. So it just seems to be a beautiful piece that we wanted to share with other children so that they can see that they can do this too,” said Green.
The Children’s Home Society also offers a “warm line” that is available 24/7. The hotline connected you immediately with a counselor. You can find more information on chslistens.com[chslistens.com] or call or text 1-888-733-6303.