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Bryce Leiberman: “Show that you are listening”

If I could start a movement, it would be called Live Brighter, and its mission would be to inspire our new generation of young people to live kinder, more hopeful lives. I know that people are already trying to do this, but our movement would be to educate kids from the ground up, from Pre-K […]

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If I could start a movement, it would be called Live Brighter, and its mission would be to inspire our new generation of young people to live kinder, more hopeful lives. I know that people are already trying to do this, but our movement would be to educate kids from the ground up, from Pre-K to high school, we could really do something great. The core of any person’s ideas and experiences is their upbringing. By educating children through kindness based curriculum, and helping them through the tough times that life throws at them, we will be able to live in a world where kindness is no longer a myth, it is a reality.


As a part of my series about the things we can do to remain hopeful and support each other during anxious times, I had the pleasure of interviewing Bryce Leiberman.

Bryce Leiberman is a 13-year-old middle school student in Connecticut. He founded the kindness website www.brighterdaysforall.com in order to help spread kindness during these difficult times. Bryce’s interests include tennis, poetry and reading.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

Thank you so much for this interview! Well, I was on a walk with my dad in the middle of March, when I saw this sign on a driveway. It said, “Brighter Days Ahead.” Immediately, I was struck with this sort of inspiration. I had this idea to do something, actually, do something to make the world a better place. People were dying on the front lines of this international crisis, but what could I do? I got my friends together, and we started working on this website. In a couple of days, we had this beta website, this fledgling campaign of kindness. Once I started reaching out to people, we had dignitaries like presidential candidate Andrew Yang and Senator Chris Murphy endorse our project. Also, we have just established a Brighter Days Store, in which 10% of the proceeds go to the Anti-Defamation League and the Global Coronavirus Relief Fund. Watching this website grow has been truly amazing, and the support of people that want to make a change for the better is out there, it really is. And ever since that day, I have tried to make a positive impact, not just in my community, or even in my state, but everywhere.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

I just finished reading John Green’s Paper Towns. I wouldn’t say that this story has made a significant impact on me yet, but it was an amazing experience to read it, especially the last couple of chapters. It talks about Walt Whitman’s theory that we are all leaves of grass, that we are all interconnected people and everyone shares experiences and moments that are unique, but the one thing that brings us together is that we are all leaves of grass. It also dives deeper into different analogies about human nature, one being that we are all ships, and once we lose someone, or leave a place that we have once loved, there is a crack in the hull. But once these cracks start to appear, we can see through them and back at ourselves. At our true nature, and the things that make us us. We can also see others, their true selves, through the pain and trauma that they have experienced. This metaphor really made me think. So I believe that Paper Towns will probably have a lasting impact on me.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.

OK. So for our first reason that people should be hopeful during this virus is that we can now be more self-sufficient. I know people that, before this pandemic, sat around and did nothing all day, but now, those same people are forced into a new situation, where they make a routine for themselves, and have gone from being dependent on others to doing things and being independent, and that is truly amazing. The second reason that people should be hopeful is that we can emerge into this new world more focused than ever. I know that friends of mine have been getting stir crazy, and it has sure worked for me to focus on this website, and channeling my energy into a positive cause, so I can only assume that others will also channel their energies in beneficial ways, to themselves and others. The third reason that people should be hopeful is that I know that people will be kinder when we emerge from this global crisis. Firsthand, I have observed acts from the forum of Brighter Days For All, that have truly touched me. From people holding fundraisers for charities, to making a cake for an elder neighbor, I have seen acts of kindness far and wide. Another reason that people should have hope during this corona crisis is that we will unite. In New York, there is state-wide applause at 7 P.M. for healthcare professionals. It just goes to show that in these trying times, the human spirit can rise above any one person. Our ability to unite, to stand together, and to be better humans in the midst of the coronavirus is in fact enough that we should all be hopeful. And for the last reason, we have become better people because of this crisis. We have risen above any and all expectations to better ourselves and others. And in the process, we have become brighter people.

From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

  1. Try to be a good friend. Being supportive and understanding of others is the key to help others who are feeling anxious. Having someone to lean on makes all the difference.
  2. Don’t be afraid to give your opinion on someone’s problems. Two points of view are always better than one, and it can help people, it really can.
  3. Give people their space. Try not to be too inquisitive, because sometimes, space is all someone needs to figure out their own problems.
  4. Show that you are listening. When others around you start to tell you about a personal issue or problem, you should signal that you are paying attention. For example: when a friend is telling you about an issue, you should nod your head to show that you care.
  5. Empathize with others. You should respond intelligently to others. Try to feel what they are feeling. This is the best way to be supportive to others that are going through something.

What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?

I would recommend the Mental Health Foundation. It is truly an amazing website, and their ability to spread hope and help people is truly inspiring. Also, I would recommend LifeVestInside. They are a partner of Brighter Days For All, and they have an amazing project called the Project Hope Exchange, where you can hear a message of kindness from someone that you can hear a thirty-second message of hope from someone who has been through a real life trauma, like cancer. This is an amazing program, and it has helped thousands of people.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

When asked this question, I immediately think of the Maya Angelou quote, “If you must look back, do so forgivingly. If you must look forward, do so prayerfully. However, the wisest thing you can do is be present in the present… gratefully.” It reminds me that we must live in the moment and that we only have one life, so we must live it to the fullest. We must forgive ourselves for previous wrongdoings, not forget, but learn and move on from them. When we look forward, we must be hopeful, because that is what living is all about; moving forward, staying positive, and working on bettering ourselves. This is relevant to my life because life is made to be lived, and lived to the fullest.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

If I could start a movement, it would be called Live Brighter, and its mission would be to inspire our new generation of young people to live kinder, more hopeful lives. I know that people are already trying to do this, but our movement would be to educate kids from the ground up, from Pre-K to high school, we could really do something great. The core of any person’s ideas and experiences is their upbringing. By educating children through kindness based curriculum, and helping them through the tough times that life throws at them, we will be able to live in a world where kindness is no longer a myth, it is a reality.

What is the best way for our readers to follow you online?

The best way for readers to follow us is to become a member of brighterdaysforall.com! This way, you will get daily emails about our blogs, and be more involved with our website!

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

Thank you so much for this opportunity!

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