The Snoqualmie Valley is home to some amazing young people; kids who will do anything to help a friend in need, even one they’ve never met and who lives in a different country.
In the world of social media, kids can meet anyone – who really can be anyone behind a keyboard. As parents, you hear stories that send chills through your bones. You worry about your kids in the world of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr.
Sometimes, though, through all that worry, there are shining moments of connections, even online connections between people who haven’t met, that lend themselves to happy endings, possibly restoring faith in the natural instinct to believe in the good that does exist.
A few months ago through Instagram, Kaitlyn Rogers, a North Bend 9th grader, developed a friendship with a Canadian girl who is just about the
same age. The friendship was revealed to her mother from the start. Her mom provided guidelines, reminding her never to give out personal info, as this new friend could be anyone, while also monitoring Kaitlyn from her own Instagram account.
Last week, Kaitlyn became very worried about her friend after receiving a text from the girl saying she was “done and wasn’t going to be around anymore.” Kaitlyn revealed to her mom that the friend was very depressed.
Her mom wasn’t quite convinced this was all real – and they didn’t know much about the friend as the girls had both been careful not to reveal too much personal information.
They did, though, know the spelling of the friend’s name and looked her up on Facebook. Although much of her account was privacy protected, they were able to see a couple of pictures in which a t-shirt worn and a comment left revealed the name of the friend’s possible school in British Columbia.
On her own and out of worry, Kaitlyn contacted the school – the principal, counselor and a program at the school designed to help protect students. Kaitlyn didn’t tell her mom about the emails until the next day when her phone rang – an incoming call from British Columbia.
The caller left a voicemail for Kaitlyn. It was the school’s principal who was very worried about the message he received and wanted to research and find the girl. Even when Kaitlyn’s mom said it could all be a hoax, he said he would treat it as a real incident and try to track down the girl before an upcoming, long 4-day Easter break.
They didn’t expect to hear anything more, but that night they received another message from British Columbia – the principal saying that they had located Kaitlyn’s friend. She was real. It wasn’t a hoax – and the young girl was receiving needed services to help her with her struggles.
He couldn’t go into specifics, but the principal said it was good Kaitlyn had contacted him when she did – and that the friend was found before anything happened. The principal was also grateful that Kaitlyn would go to such lengths for a friend – especially one she had never personally met.
Kaitlyn Rogers was trained as a Natural Helper in 8th grade at Twin Falls Middle School. Her mom thinks maybe that’s what helped her recognize instinctively that this friend really did need help.
Kaitlyn and her Instagram friend from British Columbia chatted via text recently. The good news is the friend’s spirits are up and the two girls will stay in touch. The girl revealed that she has friends where she lives, but none of them did anything to help like Kaitlyn did. It took a friend in another country to reach out and find her some help.
Sometimes it doesn’t matter where you live, or how you connect. Friends are friends and some will play detective on Facebook and reach out from hundreds of miles away to help.
It could’ve ended so many different ways for Kaitlyn and her online friend. That is clear. Through perseverance, though, this one had a happy ending.