Tamara Shaw // Work BC
My stomach drops. “Kick her in the head” is clearly heard on the video depicting a teenager’s beating by two classmates in the Lower Mainland mid-January, 2021. The teen attacked in the video is open in her transgender identity and has reported bullying since the beginning of the school year. How can this be happening in today’s day and age, I ask myself.
Jane Gauthier, Community Development Coordinator with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern BC, agrees and reminds me of the timeliness of the Pink Shirt campaign to raise awareness about the causes of bullying and how to reduce them. “There is a direct correlation with mentoring and the ability to manage bullying, increased self esteem, and pride in yourself”, shares Jane as she talks about one of the most powerful programs hosted by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern BC (BBBSNBC). The mentoring program, becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister, helps youth become happier adults, their sense of well being built up through the concerns of another adult in their lives and reducing the likelihood of the person becoming a bully or being negatively impacted by bullying.
The mentoring program has moved to a more virtual platform, with games, conversation topics, movies, and other activities available for youth and their paired mentors to spend time together meaningfully. The program has also shifted from being offered in Prince George to support provided throughout Northern BC. BBBSNBC is connecting with community organizations throughout northern BC to identify youth who would benefit from an adult mentor in their communities or remotely from Prince George. A good program is getting better for more people.
The business community can help. Get into your best pink on Diversity and Acceptance Day this February 24th and follow these simple steps:
Start the conversation.
Wear your pink “Spark Kindness” shirt on February 24th and tell people why. Let others know that bullying happens when people feel out of control or weaker within themselves and that there is help. Listen to what people say.
Buy a pink donut from Tim Horton’s. Head over to Rocky Mountain Chocolatiers and indulge in their Spark Kindness special. Pamper yourself with Blissful Bubbles pink bath treats. Check out the Big Brothers Big Sisters Northern BC website for more goods ideas.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern BC is hosting an online auction, starting on the 24th of February and going through the next week. There will certainly be the chance to pick up a terrific deal while helping an organization that helps our kids at the same time.
This year’s theme is Spark Kindness. We have had the most unusual year in recent memory. Our lives have been turned upside down. It has been a big change for many people. One thing that stays the same is that kindness helps. Pay it forward. Look for ways to make things easier for someone else. Putting a smile on someone else’s face goes a long way to improve the world around us.
If you or someone you know is struggling, these free and confidential resources can help. Text CONNECT to 686868 to reach a trained Kids Help Phone Volunteer Crisis Responder 24/7. Call 1-800-668-6868 to speak directly with Kids Help Phone. A safe, confidential, and non-judgmental crisis line to discuss anything troubling you is available through the Northern BC Crisis Line at 1-888-562-1214.
There was a parade of over 1000 vehicles shortly after the teenager in the Lower Mainland was beaten to show that people care and want to help. These five little steps can help people feel as though a parade happens every day in the lives of our kids and neighbourhoods. Remember to spark kindness and help make the lives of those around us a little bit better.
About the author: An outspoken and driven advocate, Tamara is a passionate leader who looks for opportunities to connect people for mutual benefit. Tamara strategically engages key stakeholders at community and provincial levels to meet shared outcomes. An active member of local clubs and the online CoVid-19 Business Recovery Recruiters partnership, she seeks opportunities to help local communities thrive. Tamara’s love for travel has provided her entry to understanding and owning the lived experience of diverse world views. She enjoys finding opportunity for personal and professional development and strives to ensure others benefit from her efforts.