I want to tell you a story from my childhood. A lot of you may not remember, but for some children, school can be a rough experience. I was bullied frequently, especially during elementary school and early junior high school. People liked to ridicule the way I sounded. They liked to point out my social awkwardness, my lack of athletic ability, my disheveled appearance, my strange mannerisms.
I look back now and laugh at my tormentors’ immaturity. Now I know bullying is always more about the bully than about the victim. But back then I took everything they said personally. It’s surprising that I had the strength to move past it. But I think a lot of that strength and came from my family and people whose superpowers were kindness. This is where Sheila Allen came in.
Sheila Allen is a school board member. She is a close friend of my mother’s, and when I finally opened up to my mom, she relayed what was happening to Sheila. Now what came after those complaints I didn’t quite appreciate until recently. Not once, but twice, Sheila took it upon herself to help solve my problems. Under her influence, all the bullying stopped. I didn’t understand how much she did for me. I was just relieved. But now I feel so much gratitude for the way Sheila was willing to use her personal time and resources to come to my aid.
I guess that’s what this piece mostly is: a big thank-you. I want to tell Sheila that my life has been transformed because of her help. And I hope she transforms other people’s lives after she is elected a City Council woman. Sheila Allen’s credentials are a matter of public record, I’m sure. But this is not about all that. This is just the insight of a teenager living in Davis. And that insight says Sheila is a genuinely kind soul, and will bring something essential to Davis as a member of the City Council.