Local teen activist awarded for spreading anti-bullying message - KCTV5

Local teen activist awarded for spreading anti-bullying message

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INDEPENDENCE, MO (KCTV) -

When Independence teenager Zachary Mallory started uploading anti-bullying messages to YouTube he didn't expect his face to end up on a poster. But now he's earning national recognition for his work.

The stories Mallory tells on YouTube are his own heartbreaking memories of a gay teenager struggling to fit in.

“They stood over me, kicking me, yelling at me,” Mallory said.

They are sad, but also have a message of hope to others who might be fighting the same battle.

“There are people out there who love you and people who will listen to you,” Mallory said.

The teen started making them after a local advocacy group helped him cope with his identity and the bullying he faced at school.

“I was struggling with coming out and being accepted for who I was and who I am. I just really had a story I wanted to share,” Mallory said.

Now in his senior year, the videos have earned him awards form his school, local community groups and even the Nickelodeon Network. He's featured on a network project called the HALO Effect that recognizes outstanding teenagers.

Along with getting the award for being the October winner, Mallory got a $5,000 grant to donate to an organization or charity of his choice. He chose the nonprofit The Trevor Project, a nationwide organization that works to end LGBTQIA suicide.

“Being able to share my own voice is the most amazing feeling ever, being able to inspire someone and motivate someone to do the same thing I've been doing,” he said.

With the help of his boyfriend, Robert, Mallory plans to keep uploading his video messages and help others share their story.

“It's just to empower people, to share, to be that voice that I wasn't able to be until now,” he said.

Viewers can catch Mallory Sunday on Nickelodeon at 6 p.m. central.

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