Pink Shirt Day supports healthy development programs for local youth

BGC staff and members showcase Pink Shirt Day activities during 2022 program celebrations. Photo via BGC South East.

This year, Pink Shirt Day falls on Wednesday, Feb. 22 and BGC South East and Big Brothers Big Sisters of KFL&A are once again collaborating for the annual campaign. The 2023 slogan is “Be Kind To You, Be Kind To All,” with proceeds funding healthy development programs for over 4,600 local children and youth.

“Lately, the negative social media influences on children aged 10-13 have been astounding,” said Kylie Filion, Supervisor at Big Brothers Big Sisters of KFL&A. “These are considered critical ‘middle years’ of childhood, when children are developing their sense of self and belonging… The times of isolation have forced their social lives to be even more dependent on social media. This has really impacted their conflict management skills and self esteem.”

According to a release from BGC South East, the Pink Shirt Day campaign is dedicated to fighting bullying and building inclusive and safe spaces for children and youth. BGC South East has been running the fundraiser and awareness campaign for more than 10 years in our community.

“Children and youth come to us struggling… They feel pressured to keep up with social media trends and to live up to certain standards. That’s especially hard when there are additional life barriers and adversities,” Filion continued.

“Our programs completely turn the life around of young people. The right support gets them to develop a new positive outlook,” she noted. “By providing a positive mentoring relationship, our programs create safe emotional connections for young people that help build protective factors and skills to face these social pressures and challenges.”

The organizations said that pink shirt sales directly fund programs that build “lifelong skills and healthy connections” for thousands of local children and youth, and spread the positive message of inclusivity to our community.

Image via BGC South East.

“Children and youth know they have a safe place at the Club. They have leaders they trust and look up to,” remarked Jahmaal Branker, Manager of Youth Programs at BGC South East. “We show youth how to be safe online, and different tools for managing stress and negative emotions. The connections with our staff help youth build confidence and resilience, and feel motivated for the future.”

Pink Shirt sales are all completed online, via a secure Shopify account, with shipping or scheduled pick-up options available, BGC stated. The online store is now live and closes on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023.

“We are seeing double the number of children and youth in our programs this year. The support of our community is even more important and will enable us to expand our anti-bullying curriculum to more children and youth,” said Jeff Helsby, Supervisor of Programs at BGC South East.

“We ask all community members to participate in the campaign, in whichever capacity they are able. Purchase pink items, share the campaign, and do small acts of community service for those around you… We can all spread kindness and make positive change in different ways.”

For more information or to purchase a pink shirt, visit www.bgcsoutheast.ca. For sponsorship opportunities and large team orders, contact Donald Thomas, Manager of Sponsorship and Sales for BGC South East, at [email protected], or (613) 507-3306 Ext. 117.

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