2020 Rogers Scholar and Corbin High School student Spencer Hays, right, and Ashton Noyes practice martial arts.

Spencer partnered with community leader, Jeremy Patton of United Martial Arts, to develop a social media anti-bullying campaign for males and females, ages 5-18, in Laurel, Knox, and Whitley counties. The goal was to demonstrate ways to combat bullying while teaching morals to children and teens. During the course of the nine-month project, he was able to reach 1,700 people with nearly 25 social media anti-bullying posts.

“This project means a lot to me because I was once an uncoordinated, chubby kid. I was shy and bullied into doing things I didn’t want to do,” he said. “United Marital Arts gave me a place to be myself, and once I learned self-defense, that confidence bled over into other places, such as school. Bullying is awful and by campaigning on social media, I can give everyone the same confidence I have against bullies.”

Each graduate of The Center for Rural Development’s Rogers Scholars program is required to complete a community service project. For more information about Rogers Scholars, visit www.centeryouthprograms.com