Ahead of Pink Shirt Day, some children from Surrey created posters with anti-bullying messages.
Through the City of Surrey MYzone peer mentoring program, children ages 8 to 12 have created a campaign designed specifically for social media, said Jessica Danyk, youth engagement coordinator.
“They felt they wanted to reach a large base of people, so they felt that the best way to do this was through social media. Their campaign is designed specifically for social media. It is meant to be a digital campaign,” he said. “They drew the images themselves on paper and then the staff used digital programming software to create the image in a digital format.”
The peer tutoring program, Danyk said, is to “involve that age group in more leadership-based activities and involve them in creating action projects for their community.” He said the project may be different depending on the group, but they can do “essentially what they want, what they feel passionate about” in their community. “
“So this particular group felt passionate about bullying and most of the children in the camp had been bullied or had a close friend who had previously been bullied. There was consensus among the group that this was something they wanted to tackle together. “
Some of the posters showed that children are being bullied through social media, while others describe the steps children could take to oppose bullying.
Through the nine-week program, Danyk said, the children are able to build relationships with a teenager from a local high school who can lead the program with staff.
“In this way, these young people develop relationships with their younger peers who will go to the same high school. It’s a nice piece of relationship. Those young people reported many positive feelings about those mentors and the relationships they had during the trial, “he said.
“Because during this discussion, they were sharing fairly profound things about how bullied and so were the young people, so they really joined it and created a really safe space to support each other and some strong peer peer relationships. “
The children of the program have spent the past nine weeks making posters to coincide with the annual Pink Shirt, or Anti-Bullying Day, on February 26th.
Pink Shirt Day started in 2007 in Nova Scotia after Grade 12 students David Shepherd, Travis Price and their friends saw a Grade 9 student being bullied for wearing a pink shirt.
In response, Shepherd and Price distributed pink shirts for other students to wear in solidarity.
This year’s goal is to “stand up to each other”, which is “a simple but powerful message that encourages us to look beyond our differences and celebrate the things that make us unique”.
According to Pink Shirt Day, one in five children are bullied.
One hundred percent of the net income is distributed to various organizations “that support children’s healthy self-esteem, both with peers and with themselves”.
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