How do you make a bullied kid feel like a superhero? Turn them into one, of course.

When Josh Rossi and his wife Roxana first heard about the bullying Jackson Bezzant was experiencing, they knew they had to do something to make him feel like the superhero he is.

Bezzant has Treacher Collins syndrome, a genetic condition that caused issues with his facial bones and tissue development. The differences in his appearance led to excessive bullying in school, to the point where his classmates were calling him "monster" and "freak." Rossi came across a video of Jackson's dad explaining the challenges his child faced, and Rossi was heartbroken.

“As I was watching, I felt as though he were speaking directly to me,” Rossi wrote. “I immediately messaged him on social media and told him I was doing a new project on bullying and wanted his son to be part of it.”    


So how does one make a bullied kid feel like a superhero? By turning them into one, of course.

All photos courtesy of Josh Rossi.

Inspired by the trailer for "The Avengers," the photographer and digital artist partnered with Vero to create "The Avengers of Bullying," a photo series dedicated to really awesome kids who have experienced bullying. They get to play dress up as incredible bad-guy-fighting Marvel superheroes.

"We knew that if we could provide a platform where each kid could make a powerful statement against abuse, it would help unite others against it," wrote Rossi.

When Josh began the series, he had no idea what the project would look like. But after getting Bezzant on board, other kids joined too. The children who became involved in the project had faced excessive bullying for things like their gender identity, depression, and being a refugee. The project became incredibly popular and even gained the attention of Justin Bieber’s little brother, Jaxon.  

With between one in four and one in three U.S. students saying they have been bullied at school, Rossi wanted to make sure the kids felt seen.

“We knew that if we could provide a platform where each kid could make a powerful statement against abuse, it would help unite others against it.”

These 10 empowering, adorable photos show just how cool these children are.

1. Cole Helton, Vision  

2. Jaxon Bieber, Thor

3. Joshua Walker, Star Lord

4. Benson Bateman, Spiderman

5. Morisi Elkano, the Black Panther

6. Mia Verlade, the Scarlet Witch

7. Jaron Balico, Drax

8. Jackson Sommers, Dr. Strange

9. Jackson Bezzant, Captain America

10. Benjamin Crofts, Falcon

These photos won't solve the problem of bullying, but creating spaces where kids feel seen, heard, and empowered is a huge step toward creating a better, kinder world.

To learn more about the kids' stories, check out Josh Rossi's post here and watch the video below.

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Welcometoterranova and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Welcometoterranova-ness" of their story.

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Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

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Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

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