ASPEN, Colo. – This year’s first-time X Games Aspen co-host, pro snowboarder and former X Games competitor, Jack Mitrani, has also played a key role in the launch of ESPN and X Games’ bullying prevention program Shred Hate. Mitrani sat down with Front Row to share what he is looking forward to during the official launch of the campaign in Aspen:
What inspired you to become involved with Shred Hate?
Growing up I had experiences with bullying and today I still encounter “cyber-bullying” on social media. But, I think what really inspired me to become involved, is that my whole life and professional career has been fostered by the idea of treating everyone with kindness. Really focusing on the other side of bullying – how being kind and respectful to people can have a significant impact on how far you can get and what dreams you can accomplish.
The X Games platform is so huge and so many kids look up to X Games and their athletes. So to be able to use that platform and inspire something positive by showing kids what is possible if they are not bullying each other, is an incredible opportunity.
What has been the most impactful moment for you while being a part of the ESPN Shred Hate team?
The biggest impact this far was going to Bristol, Conn., [at ESPN’s headquarters] for the Shred Hate panel and meeting the people involved with the organizations Shred Hate has teamed up with [No Bully, GLSEN, DoSomething.org and Crisis Text Line]. Learning about their respective missions as well as the experience they have, was really motivating to learn how they handle [bullying] and the amount of impact that they have been able to make with their programs.
I am also so excited to go visit the local schools in the Aspen area. I don’t know what to expect. I haven’t been to a high school since I left for homeschool. So to get back to the schools, talk to the kids and share our message is something I am really looking forward to.
What do you do outside of Shred Hate that helps combat bullying?
Our crew is called the “FRENDS” crew – essentially all we did was just promote the philosophy that there is no “I” in Friends, and that by dropping your ego and working together you can go farther in life.
What advice would you give to someone who may be experiencing bullying or witnessing?
First and foremost, I think it’s better to say something than to not – whether it is a teacher, parent or guardian. It is also understanding that it’s not your fault to why someone is bullying you. That you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself just because somebody thinks one way of you, you should love yourself for who you are and try to focus on the positives. Keep your head up, it only gets better.