Hometown Heroes: Young role model takes on bullying

- Jaylen Arnold has taken on a very big challenge.

"To stop bullying anywhere and everywhere I can," said Jaylen.

The 14-year-old uses his own experience to inspire others. Jaylen has Turrets syndrome, Asperger’s and Autism, and he used to get picked on for being different.

"It was awful. It was very terrifying too. I felt so alone," explained Jaylen.

But today he's surrounded by thousands of supporters. Since we first met Jaylen in January 2014, he's travelled across the country visiting schools and spreading his anti-bullying message to kids of all ages.

"I just think it's great that these kids are getting the message and being inspired, and that I can share my story with them and help change their lives," said Jaylen.

Jaylen's Challenge has gotten pretty popular since it first started in 2008. Hundreds of schools are currently on a waiting list to hear him speak.
"Jaylen has a gift and that gift is the gift of speech and the gift to inspire people. For some reason, when Jaylen talks, people want to listen," said Jaylen's mom, Robin Arnold Eckleberger.

In order to fill the need, Jaylen started an ambassador program, which gives other kids the opportunity to spread his message in their school.

"I tell them to never lose hope" said Jaylen.

He's definitely made his mom proud.

"He has amazed me in every way. And what should have been something that disabled him actually inspired him to inspire hundreds and thousands of other children," said Jaylen's mom.

Jaylen has gotten a lot of celebrity attention too. He was featured on the Ellen Show, where he received a $10,000 grant.

He was also on the cover of Highlights children's magazine and had his own show on Nickelodean called, "The Halo Effect, Helping and Leading Others."

But the one thing Jaylen says he'll never forget is the time he received the World of Children Award and got to meet Anne Hathaway.
"I remember meeting her. I was smiling and I said, 'I love you' and then I blanked out. It was so funny because I barely remember anything that happened, but it was very, very awesome," said Jaylen.

Jaylen's accomplished a lot in a short time, but it's not the awards and recognition that make him most proud; it's witnessing students accepting his challenge and shouting his message of "Bullying No Way."

Click here to learn more about Jaylen's Challenge.

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