10-year-old Cobb County student helps classmates cope

·1 min read

Ta’kari Tatum is 10 years old. Going on 35.

“I felt like there was a lot of anxiety and depression in everybody’s lives,” Tatum said. He first saw it at his school, Varner Elementary in Powder Springs — the pandemic had taken a toll on many of his classmates, and he was determined to help.

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He started by making and distributing rubber band bracelets with instructions on how to use one.

“So I snap it to remind myself to breath and just stay cool,” Tatum said.

“When I watch this, I’m like, is that really my child up there doing that,” his grandmother Gwen Tatum, said.

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The classroom project has grown into speaking engagements at other schools, churches, city council meetings, and community events. He’s even a spokesperson for the National Alliance on Mental Illness and he has raised money for the nonprofit.

“It’s amazing. He even teaches me. Every day,” his father, Trevor Tatum, said.

And it all happened because a rising fifth grader was sensitive to what his friends were going through.

“It makes me feel happy that most of the people who have received my help are feeling better now,” Tatum said.

Tatum’s next public event is at the Powder Springs Juneteenth Celebration. His website is http://therubberbandmentality.com

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