Trine graduate honored for anti-bullying work

June 06, 2024

A recent Trine University graduate was named as one of six recipients of a national award honoring those who work to create a kinder, more inclusive and more accepting world.

PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center recognized Elayna Hasty of Angola, Indiana, with its 2024 Unity Award for her work with G.A.B. Girls (Girls Against Bullying Girls), the nonprofit she created to help combat bullying.

“Her workshops to schools and groups were designed to not only to help empower those who are bullied, but encourage others to be upstanders,” the organization said in a statement on its website. “Her initiatives have helped to raise awareness about the impact of bullying and have provided vital support to those who have been affected, creating a safer and more compassionate environment for all.”

Founded in 2006, PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center leads social change with a goal of preventing childhood bullying.

Pushing back against bullying

Elayna said she was “incredibly excited” and honored to receive the award.

“I have been promoting PACER"s Unity Day every October since I was in middle school, which is why receiving this award feels so special,” she said. “I have always had a passion for helping others as well as being an advocate for anti-bullying as someone who has been bullied.”

She started G.A.B. Girls after she was bullied in elementary school.

“I had a lack of identity and it caused me to struggle a lot in school,” she said. “Every day was a constant battle of name calling, being pushed into lockers, and the feeling of never being good enough.”

When a close friend shifted to homeschooling to escape the bullying, Elayna decided she needed to act. 

“I wanted to help others who were silently struggling and encourage my friends to stand up for themselves,” she said.

G.A.B. Girls began as a Facebook account where Elayna posted statistics about bullying as well as positive quotes. A year later, Elayna recorded her first radio interview on the YesFM Christian Radio station.

She held her first workshop at the YMCA of Steuben County in 2013. She has now presented 74 workshops, attended by more than 3,500 people, on topics such as teamwork, positivity, self-worth and preventing bullying.

“My favorite memory is making ‘I Am’ boards with the little ones,” she said. “These boards are self-portraits that the kids can paint. After they are done, single-word stickers that are characteristic-based can be put around their painting. Examples of stickers include talented, smart, creative, adventurous, beautiful, etc. The goal is to teach positive self-affirmations and that being unique is truly special. It's so exciting to see their creativity while building confidence in their identity.”

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Elayna Hasty
General Studies: Pre-law

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