JESSICA Oliver may only be nine, but she is getting involved in work many grown-ups would shy away from.
The schoolgirl, from Marton, has signed up as a young ambassador for charity Bullies Out.
Her role will involve talking about and raising awareness of the issues around bullying, promoting the Bullies Out charity in churches, schools and community groups, along with organising fund-raising events.
Jessica first got involved with the charity after she was crowned Miss Natural Sparkle’s ambassador at its 2012 beauty pageant. It asks winners to get involved in promoting the work of Bullies Out.
But she became even more determined to speak out against the problem after she witnessed a young girl being picked on as she made her way home from school.
Proud mum Jenny said: “We were coming home from school and there were some girls from one of the high schools, shouting abuse and horrible insults at another girl.
“Jess felt really sorry for her and was upset someone could treat another person like that.
“She felt she really wanted to do something.
“She is very mature in many ways for a nine-year-old. She worries about things nine-year-olds wouldn’t even normally think of – like wars and people living in poverty.
“She just cares about other people and wants to help.”
Jessica will be travelling to Cardiff to attend meetings, with other young ambassadors, to meet and talk about bullying and ideas to help the charity.
Jenny said: “It’s great experience for her. She is learning new skills, how to speak in public and it has really boosted her confidence.
“Really, it was starting to take part in beauty pageants which boosted Jessica’s confidence.
“She was quiet before, she was quite shy and now she stands up and speaks in front of people and isn’t afraid to give her views.
“I’m not sure she would have gone on to do this ambassador work for Bullies Out before.
“The pageants have really made a difference to her self-confidence. People often make assumptions about pageants, but there is a positive side to them.
“I’m really proud of her – there aren’t many nine-year-olds who would be doing something like this.
“She just loves to help and is full of ideas.”
Jessica, who goes to Stanley Park Primary School, said: “I hadn’t really seen anyone be bullied before, but when I saw this girl being bullied, I felt I had to do something.
“I hope by being an ambassador for Bullies Out I can help as many people as possible.
“When I told my friends about it, they thought it was a really good idea.
“I’m thinking of holding a coffee morning soon to raise money and awareness.
“I am quite confident and I like helping people.
“If anyone is being bullied I would tell them to try to be strong and just walk away. And talk to someone, because they can get help.
“And to people who are bullies, I would tell them to stop it - they don’t realise how much it upsets people.
“The world would be a lot better if people were nicer to each other and there was no bullying.”
Next week is Anti-Bullying Week and the Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA) hopes to highlight the affect bullying can have.
For more details about Bullies Out visit the website www.bulliesout.com