BGC South East and Big Brothers Big Sisters of KFL&A are once again joining efforts to organize a far-reaching and impactful Pink Shirt Day campaign under the slogan, “It’s time for Kindness,” with proceeds funding their local anti-bullying and positive mentoring programs.
“Two years into the pandemic and we see the continuing challenges youth are facing every day,” said Jahmaal Branker, Manager of Youth Programs at BGC South East. “It’s hard for young people to focus, to express themselves socially, and to navigate the digital world and all its negative pressures.”
In the face of these continuing challenges, the slogan is a timely reminder of the importance of showing kindness in all of our relationships, and throughout our workdays and everyday lives, according to a media release from the two organizations.
“These past couple of years have been particularly difficult for our youth. They have endured isolation, with their social lives and recreational activities being disrupted, and this all takes an emotional toll. They have been through so much, and right now we could all use a reminder to be kind to each other”, added Greg Dobney, President of the Board of Directors of BGC South East.
According to the release, pink shirt sales directly fund programs that build lifelong skills and resilience in local children and youth and spread the positive message of inclusivity to our whole community.
“To me, Pink Shirt Day means a safe place. I feel like we can speak our opinions at the Club and people listen,” remarked 17-year-old Page, a youth member participating in Club programs for more than four years. “When I was going through a rough time, the Club was there for me. So I just kept coming, and have been here for four years now. The Club is my second home.”
Branker remembers the beginning of Page’s journey with the Club and applauds her growth. “Page is such a positive influence on everyone around her. She embraces all activities and gets all the other youth on board, whether it is listening to a career seminar or making up a new game,” Branker said. “She is now starting her next challenge with us as a new staff member!”
BGC South East has been running the local fundraiser and awareness campaign for more than 10 years, according to the release. Long-standing corporate supporters, Terra Nova Truss and Kawartha Credit Union, are once again stepping up and, the organizations said, they remain committed to building safe and inclusive spaces in our community.
“Year after year, the show of support from our community is astounding,” said Amanda Guarino, Associate Director of Resource Development and Communications at BGC South East. “Just last year, more than 2,000 community members directly participated in our campaign and we engaged over 600 children in our anti-bullying programs. We are raising the challenge this year to provide an additional 100 children with dedicated anti-bullying and mentoring programs.”
Guarino urges all community members to participate in the campaign, in whichever capacity they are able. “Our campaign is only as strong as the support of our community,” she said. “Tell your friends, engage with us on social media or purchase a pink shirt. Do small acts of community service for those around you. We can all spread kindness and make positive change in different ways.”
Pink Shirt sales are all completed online, via a secure Shopify account, with shipping or scheduled pick-up options available. Orders close on Sunday, Feb. 6, 2022, in order to ensure community members can receive shirts in time to display them on Pink Shirt Day, Wednesday, Feb. 23.
For more information and to purchase a Pink Shirt, visit the Shopify store: https://bgc-south-east-2022-pink-shirt-day.myshopify.com/ For corporate opportunities and team-based orders, please contact Amanda Guarino, Associate Director, Resource Development & Communications, at [email protected] or (613) 888-9975.