From Being Bullied, To Being a Leader; Mabton Senior Starts Comm - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

From Being Bullied, To Being a Leader; Mabton Senior Starts Community Project

Posted: Updated:
MABTON, WA.--Once bullied by his peers, a Mabton High School student now has hundreds of classmates standing by his side.

15-year-old Ivan Torres has already overcome so much in life.

"People in school they used to bully me," said Torres. "Call me cross eyes, four eyes."

"At that point in time, Ivan didn't want to come to school," said Jessica Prieto.

Torres lacked the correct muscles over his left eye causing him to be cross-eyed. The Mabton School District, as well as several local non-profits wanted to help the young boy and raised more than $50,000 to cover the cost of his surgery.

"As a first year principal, this is amazing, and it's something that I'm pumped just to see happen here," said Mabton High School Principal Caleb Oten.

Six years after his surgery, Torres has been inspired to give back to the community who helped lift him up.

"Mabton did something for me special, and I want to do something for my community," said Torres.

Torres has asked hundreds of volunteers to join him Saturday, May 3rd, in cleaning up Mabton. Torres said they'll clean up every alleyway, street, yard, field and graffiti spot to make the community he loves look more beautiful.

"I'm very proud of Ivan," said Prieto. "He has actually stepped up and become a leader."

"The fact that he's resilient and able to get through it," said Oten. "And not only that, but just to see some of the helping hands come along in this, and to pick him up when he struggled. That's huge."

If you want to help make "The Ivan Project" a big success, you can meet at Feezell Park in Mabton at 8 a.m. Saturday, May 3rd. The city has donated a lot of cleaning supplies and local businesses are donating water and snacks.