HERRIMAN, Utah – Once a victim of bullying, a Herriman High student is calling for change with the creation of an all-inclusive club.
Ryan Cherry is trying to start a chapter of the Golden Gate club at Herriman High School. He came up with the idea after visiting Bingham High School.
Bingham created the club in 2016 when a student noticed a troubling trend.
“I see kids hiding out in bathrooms. I see them hiding out in their cars. I see them crying in the corners of the stairwells. I see them sitting alone in the lunchroom,” said Jolynne Ward, Bingham High School Golden Gate Club Founder.
The idea behind the club is to give students a place to have friends and make friends.
Jared Swasey moved to South Jordan from Tooele last year and had a hard time making friends at Bingham. He joined the pro-social group and things changed.
“Since I've been in this club, everyone is a person," Swasey said.
“This club is all about the smiles and bringing smiles to students faces,” said Ward.
Mike Cherry’s son Ryan was the target of bullying at Herriman High.
“Sorry if I get emotional, but Ryan is a 3.9 student and his grades fell," Cherry said.
Cherry worried his son had suicidal thoughts. Since last summer, five students at Herriman High took their lives.
“It's really taken a toll on all the students,” said Ryan Cherry.
Ryan was so impressed with the success of the Golden Gate Club at Bingham, he is working to bring it to Herriman.
The Jordan School District says they are 100 percent supportive of the idea. Ryan’s father Mike couldn’t be prouder.
“He took an ultimate huge challenge that was causing him a lot of pain and he has turned it into something that has caused him more joy," Cherry said.
Ryan just wants to make a difference.
“If I can save one kids life then I've done my job," he said.
Cherry plans to hold a parent meeting on April 24, to go over all the details of the club.
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, help is available 24/7 by calling 1-800-273-TALK. Utahns can also visit Hope4Utah and the Suicide Prevention Resource Center for additional resources. You can also download the SafeUT app for instant, confidential crisis services.