Oelwein family starts "Stop Bullying Campaign" - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Oelwein family starts "Stop Bullying Campaign" to spread message of acceptance

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OELWEIN (KWWL) -

Nikki Garcia of Oelwein, the photographer behind the Stop Bullying Campaign, helped start it after a friend of her brother's took his own life.

"We had a student here -- he was my son's best friend who committed suicide," said Alana Garcia, Nikki's mother. "Not saying bullying was the entire thing, but it was a little bit and I told my daughter, 'Something's gotta be done.'"

The campaign was founded by Nikki, Alana and Nikki's brother Matthew Higgins.

It was Alana who thought of writing the words, "Stop bullying," on an outstretched hand for the photos.

"I got the stop from -- believe it or not -- 'Ironman,'" Alana said. "I thought, why not have 'Stop bullying' on your hand showing people that."

Nikki began taking photos of people in September. Matthew's photo was first, followed by her sister-in-law and nephew.

"After we took those three photos, I made the Facebook page, and in an hour we had 50 likes and people were writing in saying, 'I want a photo like this,' 'How can I get a photo like this?' and it kind of sparked from there," said Nikki.

To date, the Stop Bullying Campaign has featured about 90 different people.

"We have a lot of support. They think it's fantastic somebody is willing to do something," said Alana.

Alana said this isn't just an issue for students. Her goal is to encourage more parents to get involved in their children's lives and take action against bullying.

"We can't ignore it. It's there and unless we do something to stop it, it's gonna be there," said Alana.

Nikki hopes the campaign encourages us all to be more accepting of others and embrace our differences.

"It's not about us," said Nikki. "It's not about my photography or name or anything. We just want to help everybody and get people talking about bullying."

For more information on the Stop Bullying Campaign out of Oelwein, click here.

You can also find the campaign on Facebook.

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