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Alise Rafoth, a junior at Canfield High School, has started a mini-boutique with her sisters called A’s Attic.
It opened several months ago inside Adamas Jewelry and Gifts on Market Street in Boardman. On Saturday from 10 a.m. t0 4 p.m., the boutique will have an open house, with some of the proceeds that day going to the “Stomp Out Bullying” organization.
Rafoth said the cause is close to her heart because she has been a victim of bullying. She said she was bullied by her friends this past school year.
“A lot of people don’t understand that bullying is not just a joke. It’s more. It tears you down mentally and physically. People think it’s just a joke and a tease, but it goes further and you lose who you want to be and what matters to you. And you don’t really remember how to think for yourself,” Rafoth said.
She said it is hard for her to talk about being bullied and it took her eight months to become the person she is today and to be strong enough to tell her story. She said she did it with the help of Dr. Denise Bobovnyik, Dr. Cathy Hammond and her family.
“They really got me to get the help that I needed because most people don’t get the help. And later in life, they are the ones that get stomped on,” Rafoth said.
She and her sisters, Alexis and Alyssa, started A’s Attic to expand the family business and try to attract younger customers. The boutique sells baby gifts, teen trendy gifts and sentimental gifts.
Some of the proceeds from the store’s sales go to the “Stomp Out Bullying” organization, which is a bullying awareness campaign.
Rafoth said she is trying to arrange for someone from the organization to talk to area students about bullying because she said hearing a speaker helped her get through her bullying ordeal.