fbpx

Rebecca Zerbo

• It’s been six years since a bullying incident during band class left Rebecca Zerbo crying in a middle-school bathroom. That night, the Boca Raton resident went home and wrote messages of positivity to keep in her back pocket. Whenever she felt down, she reached for one of the sayings and read the encouraging words. Not only did it boost Zerbo’s morale, it would soon help countless others struggling with bullies, low self-esteem and lack of confidence.

• Today, the senior at Olympic Heights Community School remains an inspiration to people of all ages thanks to Positive Pocket, the nonprofit that she launched at age 13. At its recent Diamond Award luncheon, the Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce honored Zerbo with its Pearl Award for striving to make a difference in the community—and beyond.

• Her organization does that by empowering young adults with a variety of tools, from presentations and activity worksheets to hundreds of Positive Pocket cards, each one with a different inspirational message.

• In addition to youngsters and teens who’ve benefited from the messages—including students who had considered suicide—Zerbo says that one adult woman turned to Positive Pocket to help her escape an abusive relationship and rediscover her self-worth.

• The Positive Pocket experience has opened Zerbo’s eyes to the magnitude of bullying and self-esteem issues. Her public appearances and presentations, she believes, give her a forum to speak on behalf of those going through challenging times. Meanwhile, the feedback she receives motivates her to continue to push her message. “I’m going to keep doing it because I love it,” she says. “The more you learn, the more you can grow—and the bigger impact you can actually make.”

• Zerbo recently was accepted into the University of Central Florida and Tulane University, but she’s yet to decide which school she will attend. She plans to study international relations and international law in the hope of one day working with an organization involved in conflict resolution or that promotes world peace.

• “If I work hard and I work smart, I can be like these people who are changing the world,” says Zerbo, 17.

• To this day, Zerbo still keeps Positive Pocket cards in her back pocket.

• To donate to the nonprofit organization, visit positivepocket.org.

Editor’s note: The National Center for Education Statistics reports that one out of every five students (ages 12 to 18) in the U.S. has experienced an incident of bullying. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, victimized youth are at “increased risk for depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties and poor school adjustment.” For more information, visit cdc.gov/violenceprevention and click on youth violence prevention.

You May Also Like

Editor’s Letter: An Overlooked Abundance

A couple of months ago, someone posed this question on reddit.com/florida: “Why is Florida’s music industry so weak?” In case you missed the point, they continued, “I don’t think Florida has a very consolidated music scene. It almost feels like folks here are mostly thrilled by novelty and high-energy eccentricity.” Well, ouch. We may not

Kevin Gale
Live and Up Close: Shaw Davis & the Black Ties

“I don’t see my life any other way but as a musician.”

Live and Up Close: My Weekend Therapy

“I was going through a breakup, so I started going to a therapist and he said, ‘You do music, that’s your weekend therapy.’”

Live and Up Close: Ryan Hopkins

“I hope that when people see me perform they realize how much my heart is in it. I’ll put on the same show whether I’m playing to five people or 300.”

Other Posts

Healthcare Investor Hosts Fundraising Event for Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis

The evening will feature a Frank Sinatra impersonator, networking and a chance to raffle prizes from Amaira Med Spa & Surgical.

Editor’s Letter: Staking Out the Middle Ground

The political partisanship in Florida is pretty stark these days. However, the career of John P. “Jack” Seiler is a reminder that wasn’t always the case. Seiler, who is featured on this month’s cover, served a key role as a fiscally conservative Democrat during his time in the Florida statehouse. Some people thought he was

Kevin Gale
Hit the Road? Not This Jack

Seiler has had a long and distinguished public service career serving South Florida.

Justin Weinstein Is on a Mission To Change the Attorney-Client Dynamic

A new brand movement – “The Law of We” – aims to foster proactive relationships between attorneys and their clients.