In each issue of HemAware, we “Take 5” with people in the bleeding disorders community and spotlight their efforts with just five questions. Here, we talk to Darryl Barron, who started a group called the No Beef Soldier Mentoring Club, in his Decatur, Georgia, community to combat bullying and violence.
Why did you start an anti-bullying community group?
My son, Derryl, has hemophilia. In 2005, when he was 8 years old, he was bullied by kids in the neighborhood. I tried to help him by keeping him in the house, but he said that wasn’t helping. “I have to go to school,” he told me. So I decided that I needed to go out in the community and build a little unity. I also needed to protect my son and others like him who had the same problem. That was when I came up with the idea of the No Beef Soldier Mentoring Club.
What is the No Beef Soldier Mentoring Club?
Initially, I wanted to promote nonviolent reactions to situations. If a kid is at school or on the street and someone tries to start a fight with him, we tell him to say, “I have no beef with you,” and then walk away. Members need to try to adhere to the No Beef Motto, which is aimed at discouraging violence, including bullying. The motto emphasizes a nonviolent lifestyle, and respecting others and yourself. It includes taking education seriously, getting good grades, being obedient and following rules.
How do you attract kids to join the club?
I’ve always had a way with kids. I had a basketball hoop set up at the end of my driveway for my kids and other kids from the neighborhood to play basketball. So I’d just go out and talk to them, and tell them about the No Beef Soldier Mentoring Club. They responded really well to it. They were rewarded with No Beef Soldier Mentoring Club T-shirts if they learned the motto.
Has it had a positive impact on kids in your neighborhood?
I know it helped my son and a young man named Steve. Steve’s teacher was disrespecting him, and he almost talked back to her—but didn’t. He told me, “I remembered I was a No Beef Soldier. Mr. Darryl, it was hard to do.” I understand that. I told Steve, “The more you turn your back on the idea of being disrespected, the stronger you will be. It will become a habit.” I’m glad he’s finding the strength to walk away from confrontations that could hurt him in school. That’s a good outcome.
What’s the future of the club?
I’m trying to grow it. I don’t have a building we can meet in, so I’m looking around to see if I can find somewhere the kids can come together. I want to start speaking at schools, churches and youth programs about the No Beef Soldier Mentoring Club. My son just started a Facebook group for No Beef, so I’m hoping I can grow it that way, too. My dream is for this to become a national program. If more kids followed the No Beef motto, there would be more good in the world. I want a million No Beef Soldiers—that’s my dream.
Do you know an interesting individual we should profile in a future issue of HemAware? E-mail Managing Editor January Payne.