South Webster student’s love of community propels timely issue
Bailey Martin is quick to tell you about her roots in her community-her pride in being South Webster’s 2018 River Days candidate is worn on her sleeve, with good reason. “I am a fourth generation Jeep-I know I am biased, but I believe South Webster is the most supportive school around. It’s all I’ve known-I had grandparents, parents attend South Webster-a great deal of my family. I love the school, the students, the environment and the staff-it is truly small-town U.S.A., which is the best! It’s truly the place for me!”
The effusive incoming senior’s attitude is certainly infectious, but it also belies the difficulty with which she has had to deal, recently-those difficulties drove her to tackle a very serious problem with the same intensity. “My platform is about suicide prevention and depression, two things that have taken a toll on my life. People automatically think I have had a friend or family member suffer from this problem, because it is what I chose as my platform-actually, I was diagnosed with depression around my sophomore year. I had a very difficult time getting to the diagnosis part because when I began to open up to fiends about it, they couldn’t understand what I had to be depressed about. It was normal and I just needed to pull it together, they told me. I tried that for a long time, which was really difficult. Then, I found someone to confide in and they helped me get help and to go to my parents. After being proscribed meds, I went off of them for a while, but had to return. I ended up in a hospital, where I was taught coping skills that really helped a lot. I want people to know, if you are suffering from depression or have thoughts of suicide, its okay to be messy and broken. What’s important is not to be silent about it. Suicide thrives in silence. If you don’t have these problems, be the finder. Find the person or friend who might sit alone at lunch every day, or an athlete that looks like they have it all, but is alone. Over the last couple of years, this area has lost a lot of people across all social spectrums-I believe it’s important that we positively engage one another during this intense phase of our lives. We can all learn from one another-we need, more than ever, to care, love and listen to each other, now,” Martin said.
Martin told The Voice that she feels the misuse of social media is a culprit in the increase in teenage depression. Social media is a tool-if you know how to use a tool wisely, you’re not going to get hurt. However, it has helped to intensify and increase bullying issues. Bullying has always been a problem, but the misuse of social media gives some bullies a mask to hide behind. I believe hurt people, are the ones that hurt people. It’s easier to hurt people when you’re hurting, plus social media has made it easier to do that. The person that is hurting others has something missing in their lives. We can help this problem by teaching young children the cause and effect of bullying,” Martin offered.
The Jeep candidate was extremely pleased with the turnout for her educational event on the platform-“I cannot express how happy I was that over two hundred people turned out! It was amazing and far more than I could have ever asked for. We planned for one hundred and twenty people, so it was great to get the people out to learn about this subject.” According to Martin, a number of attendees that were present were students from area schools, eager to learn how to spot signs of depression and self-harm in their classmates. Another interesting segment of attendees, according to Martin, were the elderly. “We had a lot of older people come-depression and suicide is much more impacted by these problems than the youth of today. They were there not only to learn about how it affects them, but also, to learn how to help the youth of our area through this. The attendance was truly a blessing. We had several medical professions, as well as Shawnee State University come down. We also had three speakers that included a parent that had lost a son to suicide. All of their stories were insightful and powerful, they moved a lot of those there. It was worth every minute of work-a lot of emotion was shown, the kind that moves you and wants you to improve the world. I am still receiving texts and messages from people that attended. It was and continues to be a blessing to see the love and support.”
While her platform has taken up a great deal of energy and effort, Martin has also worked hard at being the Jeep’s pick to represent the South Webster student body. “It’s been pretty labor intensive, but if you have talked to any past candidates, that shouldn’t come as a surprise. They will definitely tell you that it’s a lot of work. I have been preparing for this a long time, so I’m definitely ready.” Martin said that she had attended every pageant over the last fourteen years, since she was three and it’s exactly what she wanted. “I am beyond blessed to represent my school and community at River Days. I won Teen Miss River Days the same year Ally Shuff also from South Webster, won the River days pageant, so I got to crown her-I was really excited and it inspired me to try and win another for my community,” she remembered.
Martin also continues to be inspired by her mother, Teresa and her father, Buck. “I am really inspired by my mom-she is a great businesswoman-I look up to her because of how hard she works and how passionate she is about helping others and helps our community. Going to the library when I was younger, picking up trash along the river on cleanups-she has definitely made me the person I am today. My dad has instilled a sense of adventure in me-I am not afraid of anything-he makes me try everything at least once-we’ve been to the Caribbean and tried all kinds of foods that I did not think I would like-he’s also encouraged me to meet new people and have fun while I’m experience adventures. Patty Arthurs has also been a big influence on me. I wish everyone could know her-she is always a blessing to everyone she meets and helps and she helps a lot of people, especially with River Days! I absolutely love her!”
After competing in the River Days pageant this summer, Martin will be turning her attention to her future. “As soon as I graduate, I want to get to college. I’m looking at Liberty University-I am a social butterfly, and it has a beautiful campus with a lot of activities with a lot of great kids. I want to get a degree in business and I also want to be a pilot, like my dad. I like psychology to be able help someone else with some of the same problems I’ve had. Whatever I end up doing, I will give it my absolute best, which I can be proud of.”
There’s a whole community proud of your efforts and drive right now, Bailey Martin-it shows and works both ways.