|When Omari put on Pannell's hat, it inspired Pannell to reach out to the youth in his hometown of Newark.
ATLANTA (March 15, 2013) -- Davynte Pannell, a Howard University student from Newark, N.J., identifies closely with bullying, the focus of the university’s Alternative Spring Break (ASB) in Atlanta this year.
"I was bullied at a young age because of my hair color,” said Pannell, referring to his red hair. “So, that gave me a personal relationship to this program, because I understand what it's like to be bullied.
"Then I got over it. I became desensitized to it. As I got older, I became the bully."
Pannell, a sophomore philosophy and psychology major, said he evolved into a bully during fifth grade and continued his habit in high school.
"I never really noticed how I was affecting people,” he said. “Although I knew how it affected me, I never took [their feelings] into consideration."
He is one of 45 Howard students who spent the week in Atlanta on a series of service projects. They tutored students at Hope Hill Elementary School and worked with other students at a Salvation Army site in Dekalb County. They also worked at another Dekalb County facility that helps young boys cope.
The subject of bullying was always part of the conversation, and that gave Pannell the opportunity to encounter how bullying affects its victims firsthand.