"We want to make sure that people leave our program understanding that just like eating poorly, taking drugs, smoking -- bullying is unhealthy for us," said Robyn Holstein-Glass, the Executive Director of Project Change, which organizes the anti-bullying program.
The program focuses on peer mentoring, based on the idea that young students will be more likely to confide in older students whom they see as a mentor, rather than a teacher or guidance counselor.
"It gives them kind of more of a connection – you have a relationship with a teacher, a teacher is a mentor but really the age gap makes a difference," Sousane told ABC News.
Sousane said a parent thanked him personally for helping her daughter who was being bullied.
"It made me feel really empowered that I could change something in the community," he said, "That I could make a difference."
That is exactly the message the White House wants Americans to take from today's conference – while the federal government has focused on this issue, it's individuals like Sousane, Martinez and Holstein-Glass and their communities that can have a powerful impact.
"As parents and students, as teachers and members of the community, we can take steps, all of us, to help prevent bullying and create a climate in our schools in which all of our children can feel safe, a climate in which they all can feel like they belong," the president said.
Holstein-Glass said that was what she wanted to hear from the president today at the White House conference.
"This is a problem – we need to show respect for each other. This whole idea that we can get ahead by putting other people down is not acceptable," she said.