In honor of Bullying Prevention Month, Instagram featured the story of Merilee Allred, a user who is utilizing social media to oppose bullying. The "Awkward Years Project" started when Merilee's friend asked to see her childhood photos (we all have those awkward, embarrassing photos), which happened to be taken during a time when she was bullied. Merilee explained that at first,
I had a hard time wanting to show any of them to her because I was embarrassed of those pictures and my past...But then it sparked this idea to hold up my younger picture in portraits as a before-and-after. I realized I wanted to start a project that highlights our awkward years..."Since I was teased and bullied, I thought it would be a good idea to raise awareness with it, and, maybe, hopefully help kids currently going through struggles, to let them know that life does get better.Now, Merilee runs an Instagram photo series and blog which encourage viewer submissions of "then and now" photos to raise awareness of bullying and give hope to those who are subject to its cruelties. To learn more and submit your own photos, visit http://awkwardyearsproject.com or follow Merilee on Instagram at @merileeloo.