Abigail Sager is an 18-year-old girl who was a resident of Jefferson Township. She has since emerged to become an inspiring female role model who has founded Diverse Gaming Coalition dedicated to ending online harassment through social advocacy and community outreach. Abbey and her organization strive to create a community where individuals are able to live freely in a world without bullying and harassment. I was honored to have the opportunity to interview her:
Amanda Ventre: What is the Diverse Gaming Coalition exactly?
Abigail Sager: Diverse Gaming Coalition is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending online harassment through unique ways. We are currently in the process of becoming an official organization which will help us become more well-known.
Ventre: You mentioned that you tackled the issue of bullying through unique ways. What kinds of ways do you do this?
Sager: We host a variety of online campaigns and we have a large social media presence. We plan to do bigger campaigns very soon. We are currently in the middle of a big project which is creating comic books, I see this as an exciting and different way to address bullying. Our first comic book will be centered on how the main character hopes to resolve issues of bullying by asking for help.
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Ventre: What inspired you to come up with this idea?
Sager: I noticed throughout my high school experience that they had bullying assemblies which made attempts to stop bullying but they were often boring to the majority of students. The assemblies always consisted of people spewing information and blaming the student for what was happening. There was never any fun in what they were talking about and it all just felt like a waste of time. In the middle of my junior year I dropped out of high school because I was personally bullied and harassed. I can specifically remember one instance where I was absent for about a month because I had mono and even though I was not in school people continued to harass me through my brother. It was difficult for me to come back to school and so I dropped out but I knew that I wanted to, needed to, make a difference so that this did not happen to other people.
Ventre: Why is this issue so important to you personally?
Sager: It is mainly important to me because of my high school experiences. Since I have moved away from Jefferson, there have been people in my local community that come up to me personally and they tell me of instances where children are being bullied and exactly what has happened to them. Through seeing this as a widespread issue in many communities I can see it as a real thing and I don’t think people should just ignore it.
Ventre: How long have you been working on this project?
Sager: Diverse Gaming Coalition was started in November of 2016 and the comic book project started in March of 2017.
Ventre: How do you hope that this will help your community and what difference would you expect this to make?
Sager: I consistently hear a lot of drama, especially from adults and I do not think this is something that should be happening. I believe we should be setting good examples for children and I hope to do that through this organization. Educators need to want to prove that this is a relevant issue. Through my organization, I hope that communities will be able to come together and be more compassionate and understanding.
Ventre: Recently many charities and organizations are being founded and run by teenagers. How do you feel knowing that today’s youth can be so impactful and what advice would you give to someone hoping to make a change?
Sager: It feels absolutely awesome that kids are wanting to do something in this generation. We constantly see stories and hear news that millennials do nothing but sit on their phones and I know so many teenagers who are doing so much good in their own communities. Teenagers in this generation can do something to change society for the better. There’s consistently so much negativity surrounding new ideas for children, especially within the public school atmosphere, but I love how children just go out and decide to do good anyway. My advice is that you have to remember all it takes to start something you are passionate about is to start at one place and having a positive mindset that you are good enough to do whatever you want. Get a group of peers who care about the issue and don’t rely on your school, start it yourself. You must have a goal set to keep yourself going. Start with small goals and then move onto bigger ones. There are so many resources for anyone to do virtually anything. I truly believe that change starts with young people because this is their world and this is what will affect the rest of their lives therefore they will create the biggest impact.
Abigail Sager is a very inspiring young adult and is very passionate about everything she does. Feel free to support her organization using the links below. For more information on the Diverse Gaming Coalition, visit their website at https://www.diversegaming.co/.