COLORADO SPRINGS — The start of a new school year can bring many changes for students. New classes, new expectations, and sometimes new faces.
For Madi Kleppinger, junior at Vista Ridge High School, everything was new.
This time last year, Kleppinger felt as if the world was against her. Kleppinger's grandmother passed away, and her best friend committed suicide. She began to struggle in school, and eventually had to transfer.
Kleppinger's peers would bully her by sending hurtful messages through social media. When Kleppinger would seek for help, she was told to keep her head up, to not say a word, and ignore the feelings.
"Feeling like that and getting told that, I was like I really have no one," said Kleppinger.
Kleppinger was a victim to bullying.
"I had no confidence. I hated myself. Looking in the mirror almost made me disgusted," said Kleppinger.
According to stopbullying.gov, 1 in 5 students ages 12-18 experience bullying nationwide. Kleppinger was that one. She was forced to be vulnerable. She spoke up after people told her not to.
Teen life coach, Renee Sinning, guided, supported, and walked beside Kleppinger.
"Teens yearn to feel seen and heard and valued and understood," said Sinning.
Sinning urges parents to keep that door to communication with their kids open.
"Even though as adults we can see the big picture, it doesn't matter you need to be there for them in that moment," said Sinning.
One year later, Kleppinger looks back on her journey and wants to help other students like her.
"I feel amazing. I am very confident. I am ready to move onto the next chapter of my life and I definitely want to help those people out there that are going through the same thing," said Kleppinger.
Colorado Crisis Line (844) 493-TALK