Jeremiah Ostrowski is a native Hawaiian who grew up to become a two-sport athlete at the University of Hawaii, where he plays both basketball and football, but as he told the Associated Press, he was teased as a child. Why? Because of his Polish last name.
"No one knew how to say my name and they'd tease me about that," the wide receiver and point guard said. "I'd always be embarrassed to say my name."
So Ostrowski is the latest public figure to spread his anti-bullying message through a series of public service announcements. He and other Hawaii athletes are appearing in PSAs as state educators hope to discourage bullying while providing support for children who face it. Ostrowski was able to draw from personal experience, according to KHON-TV.
"You know growing up you know everyone kind of experienced getting picked on by maybe someone older, or like a cousin, or just people in school and stuff, and it's not a good feeling," says UH football and basketball player Miah Ostrowski.
Last month at Northwestern, star player John Shurna was among those to appear in the athletic department's video in support of The Trevor Project, which is focused on suicide prevention for LGBT youths through the "It Gets Better" campaign. Northwestern became the first college athletic department to help in the project, which is also supported by celebrities and professional sports teams.
"I absolutely wanted to jump on getting behind this message," Shurna told the Daily Northwestern. "It's important that people know bullying is just not acceptable."