Friday, August 29 2014 1:50 PM EDT2014-08-29 17:50:07 GMT
The ex-wife of an Arizona shooting range instructor accidentally killed by a 9-year-old girl learning to use an Uzi said Friday that her family plans to write the child a letter to comfort her.More >>
The accidental killing of a firing range instructor by a 9-year-old girl learning to shoot an Uzi unleashed a storm of criticism and anger, with much of it aimed at her parents.More >>
PHOENIX (CBS5) -
Carrie Severson knows all too well what it's like to bullied as a child.
Now, she's using her darkest days of the past to help support young victims, such as Rinsley Phelps.
"This girl is on fire," a happy Phelps sang.
But Phelps' outlook hasn't always been so positive: she's been bullied for years.
"It's, like, something new every single year. it feels like. It all started in kindergarten," Phelps said.
She said she has since learned how to cope, thanks to the "The Super Girl" program created by Severson through her nonprofit Severson Sisters.
"Our mission is to inspire girls to live their lives as their awesome, authentic super self," Severson said.
Severson Sisters has helped more than 900 girls in the Phoenix area by teaching them how to combat the shame, depression and self-hatred brought on by bullying.
"I founded Severson Sisters based on a personal experience," Severson said. "I was bullied as a girl. I had low self-esteem as a girl and I feel that if I had fundamental tools earlier in life that would have been different."
Severson was chosen out of thousands of applicants for the Characters Unite award by USA Network and Cox Communications and the $5,000 that comes with it.
Ask her how she feels about the award and she starts giggling.
"I'm, um, (laughs) … that's what happens," she said. "It's like a bubble of pink confetti. It's just a beautiful opportunity. It's a celebration."
She's said she's glad her mentor is being recognized, and thankful for all she has learned.
"I learned just to be stronger and let things that people say just brush off my back and just try to ignore what they say and realize that I'm great, no matter what," Phelps said.
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