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Cassy & Alyssa Gaddis

Voices against bullying

You may think that pretty girls don’t get bullied. But Cassy and Alyssa Gaddis know that is not true. These beautiful sisters, with incredible music careers, were bullied for being different and even ended up switching schools to avoid harassment. Although the experience hardened them, they use their music to teach others about the dangers of bullying. Read our interview with Cassy and Alyssa to learn how they are standing up to bullying through music.

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Tell us a little about your experiences with bullying.


 

Cassy: Growing up I was raised to treat people the way I would want to be treated. My mom would always say, “Like Thumper says, if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” For me, bullying has been going on for as long as I can remember. It really took its toll on me in high school. My freshman year I was new to a private high school with kids who’d been together forever. I changed who I was to fit in with them because I wanted friends so badly. I started to realize that wasn’t who I wanted to be and that immediately made me a target.

My junior year was the worst. I was criticized for my appearance a lot. My house was actually bombed by kids who made homemade bombs from ingredients they bought from stores. The terrorist bomb squad and the police had to come to the house to investigate. The house was also covered in toilet paper all the time. The prank calls and Facebook posts were endless. My relationships with boys also became an issue with the girls, so that gave me a lot of problems too. I moved schools my senior year thinking the bullying would end and things would get better. They didn’t. I was made fun of for supporting military families like mine. I was criticized as a singer. The list goes on and on. It brought me down. I can’t deny that. I’ve been to that low place where it’s hard to get up the next morning, but I realized I couldn’t let them win. Still to this day I have a long list of girls who’d do anything to make my life miserable.

Alyssa: I started getting bullied in sixth grade and still do to this day. I was always picked on for singing and it really got started from the time that the “Price of Peace” — our first single — came out. I learned that I have to be strong in difficult times. When I’m at school, walking in the hallways, I have to just put my head up and say, “Everything is gonna be alright.”

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Why do you think the kids targeted you?


 

Cassy: I think now in my generation, kids are threatened or jealous by kids who are “different.” They don’t know how to deal with it in any other way but to bully. I know many of the times I was bullied was because I wasn’t doing what everyone else was. And my message to kids who are different is this: being different is ok! It's kind of cool. Never change yourself for anyone. God made you different for a reason and that reason is great.

Alyssa: I think I was bullied because I didn’t want to do what they wanted me to do, and that’s what made me different. I have very great parents who taught me what’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong. From that point I wanted to stand up for what is right and some kids don’t agree with that.

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Did you ever tell anyone that you were being bullied? What did they do to help you?


 

Cassy: Yes. I confided in my mom, my best friend. I also prayed a lot. I didn’t know why it was all happening to me. I think not telling anyone is a huge mistake kids make. You feel alone and that no one will understand, but keeping it inside is the worst thing you can do. Whether it’s your mom, your teacher, your friend, talk to someone. It is so important to get it out; no one can carry that burden alone. I did go to my school when my safety was being threatened by a girl. She was threatening to break my jaw, spit in my mouth, and slash my tires. Sadly, the school completely ignored the problem and were of no help. They even witnessed it firsthand. The school pretended like it wasn’t even happening which was very frustrating. My mom went in to talk to them, but nothing was done. Luckily I was blessed with a strong group of people around me who I leaned on a lot.

Alyssa: I am very close to my family. I call us the Fantastic Four because it’s me, my sister, and our mom and dad. I really went through a time when I didn’t really have anyone to talk to about it, except my family and that’s the same situation I am at now. As I say sometimes, “Friends come and go but family is always there no matter what.”

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There has been a lot in the news about bullying lately. What would you tell a friend who was being bullied?


 

Cassy: Keep your head up. This is just a bump in the road. I believe God only gives us what we can handle. You have to keep moving forward knowing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, I promise. It truly is the hardest test of character and strength, but don’t change. Always stay true to yourself.

Alyssa: I would say to never change yourself for anyone — always be yourself. Be a leader and try to stand up for what is right. When you’re lost and upset, have a friend or a family member available so you can just have someone to talk to.

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What kinds of things are you doing now to spread the message of anti-bullying?


 

Cassy: Alyssa and I have created a program that goes hand-in-hand with our songs we’ve written: “Make a Difference” and “Sticks and Stones.” “Sticks and Stones” is a song about being bullied and wanting nothing but to be free from it. We have been going out and speaking about bullying and challenging kids to make a difference. We tell our story and then hear the stories of kids in the audience. I wrote the song about how one person can make a huge difference in your life. My history teacher made such a difference in my life when bullying was really bad at school, I’ll never forget him for that.

Alyssa: Well we do have our website and of course our music. Kids don’t want to be lectured or told what to do and as a kid, I can totally relate! But music has a way to send a message. That’s what our song “Sticks and Stones” is to these kids. Maybe listening to it they can say, “Wow, I’m not the only one who is being treated this way.”

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Switching gears a little bit, tell us a little more about your fantastic music career?


 

Cassy: Well Alyssa and I moved to Nashville this summer to pursue our music. We feel like we have stories to tell through our songs that are so important for our generation. Like I said, our songs like “Make a Difference” challenge us, telling how one person can make a huge difference in someone else’s life. “Sticks and Stones” is our anthem to kids who are being bullied. Both are available on iTunes. Alyssa and I just want to tell our story. I feel like we were bullied in order for us to “sing out” for kids who feel that they don’t have a voice. We want to put a positive message back into the music of our age. We go and speak one event at a time, hoping it goes viral! We love what we do, and hope and pray that it continues to do great things for those who hear it.

Alyssa: Well I can tell you one thing, I am one lucky kid! I love music. They call me “the juke box” in my house because I know about every lyric and every song out there and that’s just what I love! I am so humbled through what we get to do and the amazing kids we get to meet. We have kids come up to us and say, “Man, you guys are amazing!” We can’t help but say we’re here because we think they are amazing! It’s such an awesome experience and I just can’t wait to see what the future will bring!

Check out Alyssa and Cassy's video.

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What is it like pursuing your dreams and what are your goals for the future?


 

Cassy: It is an up and down adventure that’s for sure! We knew that it would be very hard but this is what we love. We feel like this story has to be told and our songs tell it. We wish for the best and never want to look back and say “What if?” so we are going for it!

A year from now we hope to be on the road touring. Rocking out, but singing songs with meaning. Alyssa and I both have books full of songs we want to record to make an album. Most of all, we just want to be singing our songs to everyone who will listen. I hope that our music takes us all over the country so that they can hopefully touch the lives of our listeners and change the bullying and negativity filling our country all over.

Alyssa: My biggest goal would be to speak more often to kids about bullying and let kids know that it’s okay to be different and to be yourself. I think that’s what Cassy and I truly can relate to. So far, speaking to kids about this issue has really hit home for them too.

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If you could be something else besides a singer, what else would you want to do?


 

Cassy: If I could get through the schooling, I’d love to be a pediatrician! In “Make a Difference,” there is a verse about how much doctors can change a life. I wrote it about a little girl we met who was going into her third open heart surgery and how much doctors had changed her life. Growing up we had the greatest pediatrician and she was so much more than a doctor. I’d love to be that for another little girl.

Alyssa: Where do I start?! Well I have a love for food! I am hungry all the time and I just love to make food, so if I had to do anything else I would go off to be a chef and probably gain 1000 pounds while being one!

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Being so busy with school and your career, tell us some things you do to stay healthy.


 

Cassy: A healthy mentality is what I focus on more. Alyssa got blessed with the legs (ha ha) so she’s great with the physical part! Writing songs is my escape and how I get away from everything. Writing your feelings or thoughts down is a great way to reflect and get it out there. It reminds me to keep an open mind and not focus on the negative. I have a habit of being negative after a bad day, so writing it in a song allows me to move on and laugh about it later.

Alyssa: I believe in always trying to communicate in some way. It’s not good to keep all your feelings inside. So, I write when I’m angry or sad. I also keep a journal and I think kids really need to find a way to get all their frustration out. On a good note, I think to be healthy is to not worry so much about what people think.Be yourself! Just hold your head up and realize how great you are!

View Cassy and Alyssa’s website.

Content last reviewed January 01, 2011
Page last updated January 01, 2011

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health.

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