Last year 13-year-old Dana Gaier, after playing the voice of Edith in the animated hit Despicable Me, got to walk the red carpet alongside singer and Nickelodeon star Miranda Cosgrove.
Yet back home in Livingston, few would have envied her. At Heritage Middle School, Gaier found herself on the receiving end of what is euphemistically called “girl drama”—being picked on.
“At first I kinda kept it bottled up and thought it would blow over,” Gaier says. She eventually turned to her parents, her 16-year-old sister, Jillian, and her guidance counselor for advice. Slowly she regained her confidence and found new friends. Emerging stronger, Gaier decided to empower other girls and try to put a stop to bullying.
“I was thinking about how I really needed someone to have my back,” Gaier says. Last May, with her parents’ help, she launched GYourB.org, short for “Got Your Back.” On the site, teens and tweens can share experiences and anonymously receive and offer advice.
“These problems existed when our parents were growing up, but with computers and cell phones we have even more challenges,” says Gaier of her generation.
Entering high school last month, she knew that bullying might still be an issue—even though the state Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights, the controversial anti-bullying law, had just taken effect. Now, at least, Gaier and other girls have a new support network through the people they have met on her site—and they all have each other’s backs.