Jaylen Arnold knows what it's like to be bullied, and he's determined not to let other kids go through it on their own.
The 13-year-old anti-bullying activist from Lakeland, Florida was born with a rare form of Tourette Syndrome, a condition which causes him to twitch periodically when he speaks. In second grade, Jaylen and his tics became the subject of ridicule by his classmates, who teased him so much he had to be taken out of school for a period of time and was considered "hospital homebound."
The teen eventually realized he had nothing to be ashamed of and could not let other kids get him down. He also knew he wasn't alone when it came to the jokes.
"Kids can get bullied for so many different things," Jaylen tells the Good News Blog. "Everyone has something that they have to go through in life, whether they try to hide it or not."
As a way to combat bullying in schools, Jaylen and his mother Robin established Jaylen's Challenge, a nonprofit organization that travels around the country speaking to children in schools about Jaylen's experience with Tourette Syndrome, and his trials with bullying. To date, the teen has spoken to over 60,000 kids, and is hoping to create a chain reaction for his cause.
"I'm trying to make the world a better place in any way that I can, because if I can help one person, then that person can help someone else, and then that person can help someone else," Jaylen remarks. "We all come together to end bullying."
Ellen also wanted to help Jaylen on his charge. This week, she sent her special correspondent Jeannie to Luther Burbank Middle School, where Jaylen was speaking to students, and surprised him with a $10,000 check. Jaylen was blown away to know that one of his favorite people also supported his cause.
Now, the young man on a mission will be able to further extend his journey, and continue changing the world every day.
"It's really important not to give up in life," he says. "Know that you can do it, and keep your head up high. You will be the best that you can be as long as you believe in yourself."