This is Claire’s story. It’s a story of resiliency and hope. 15-year-old Claire has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. She struggles everyday with things most kids take for granted. She is different. Kids at school don’t understand Claire. People are afraid of what they don’t understand and that often leads to bullying. Claire has been bullied since first grade. The kids say mean things to her, they call her names, they laugh at her, they gossip about her, they give her mean looks, they exclude her, they yell at her. She was even punched in the face by a boy. Claire no longer wanted to go to school. Even getting out of bed every morning was a struggle. Claire wrote in her diaries and on the walls of her room that she wanted to die. Claire went as far as making preparations for her suicide.
One day, Claire walked into Brass Boxing, a local gym, where they were offering Kids MMA classes. At the first class, owner and coach Austen Ford saw her potential and started giving her the positive feedback she so desperately craved. Coach Austen compared Claire to Ronda Rousey and told her if she worked hard enough, she had the skills to take her sport all the way to the Olympics. Claire attended classes where she felt strong, competent, and welcome. Claire was finally a part of a team and had a place where she belonged. The kids at the gym were happy to see Claire. Slowly, Claire’s self-esteem and confidence began to overcome the feelings from the bullies. Claire entered her first Jiu Jitsu tournament and WON several gold medals.
Claire stronger than ever
Today Claire continues to train and compete, adding to her gold medal collection at each tournament. With the help of family, her coach and team, and some friends, Claire created a video with the hope that it would help other kids who are bullied. She never knew it would end up on the desk of UFC Social Media Director Shanda Maloney. Shanda took it to her boss, UFC President Dana White. The UFC graciously hosted Claire for two epic UFC events: UFC 183 in Las Vegas and UFC 184 in Los Angeles. Shanda, Dana, and the UFC gave Claire the ultimate VIP treatment and introduced her to some of her UFC idols, including Ronda Rousey. Ronda sat down with Claire in an interview about bullies and had some great advice for Claire and other bullied children. Claire also started a YouTube talk show where she interviews athletes and celebrities called Bullied But Not Broken.
Claire still has to face mean kids and bullies everyday. They still give her mean looks, they exclude her, they say mean things. But now she can face them with a new confidence that they are the ones with the problems, not her.
In middle school, Claire has new challenges. Claire struggles with classes, teachers, and staff. Her grades reflect her struggles and she often feels like walking out of school. Claire tried so hard but was frustrated and fed up. With the help of Dr. Ramon Corrales and the Kolbe Y assessment, Claire found help and hope. E3 Scholarship Fund, in addition to helping bullied children, wants to help children succeed in the classroom as well.
If you qualify, E3 Scholarship Fund offers assistance with gym memberships at E3 Sports Facility and Kolbe Y assessments. If you’re just looking for more information, please feel free to contact us.