12 Years of Pink.
February 27th, 2019 | #PinkShirtDay
It’s been 12 years since David Shepherd and Travis Price of Berwick, Nova Scotia, bought and distributed 50 pink shirts after a male ninth grade student was bullied for wearing a pink shirt during the first day of school. (Wikipedia) Since then, the idea of wearing a pink shirt to mark an anti-bullying day has spread across Canada and to other countries. Pink Shirt Day this year in Alberta was held on Wednesday, February 27th, with the theme “Choose Kindness”.
Christine Curtis, United Way Central Alberta
Bullying is an “unignorable” issue, and we support agencies that foster better relationships between children, youth, and their peers. One of those agencies is Youth HQ in Red Deer, which provides after-school programs and Camp Alexo.
Hayden has struggled with social interactions and making friends. Club and camp have provided an environment where he feels safe to be himself and opened him up to finding new friendships not only with his peers but his (leaders) too. Being a part of this organization has given my son confidence that has transpired into better interactions at home and school as well. (Hayden’s Mom)
In addition to Boys and Girls Clubs across Central Alberta, the Association for Communities Against Abuse (ACAA) is creating an impact with its “You Choose” education. It’s a Preventive Education program that empowers students and parents to take more control of online threatening behavior.
A local K-9 school made a request for You Choose to be delivered in the grade three classroom, as there were ongoing problems amongst the female students in the class. The staff reported that students were exhibiting “mean girl” behaviour and that it was escalating, despite efforts by staff members. ACAA was able to respond quickly and present the You Choose curriculum to the entire class, over a four week period. After completion of the program, staff reported that there was a significant reduction in the conflict and mean behaviour between females in the classroom and on the playground, as well as observation of healthier interactions and friendships in that grade. (ACAA 2018)
Bullying and cyber-bullying are considered to be major health issues and the side-effects are immediate and long-lasting. In the most tragic of cases, bullying has had fatal consequences with victims attempting or dying by suicide. Early identification and intervention of bullying prevents patterns of aggressive interactions from forming.
For more information, call 211, visit PREVnet.ca or the KidsHelpPhone 1-800-668-6868