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Lots of activities for Pink Shirt Day in Port Coquitlam
Feb. 27 is Stop Bullying Day in Port Coquitlam and the city is hosting a day of action to help young people deal with and stand against bullying behaviour.
“Bullying knows no boundaries. It doesn’t care about gender, race, age or geography. It is a global epidemic that negatively affects all of us,” says PoCo's youth services program co-ordinator, Chris Eastman. “Social media has added new aspects of bullying which make it harder for parents, teachers and concerned adults to monitor. It truly is heart-wrenching to see the depth of hurt that our young people are enduring.”
The initiatives are coming almost five months after Port Coquitlam teen Amanda Todd committed suicide after posted a haunting video about how she was bullied both face to face and online. The city's efforts include research into a possible bylaw to battle bullying.
Eastman said the city’s goal is to provide children and youth with tools, resources and access to caring adults to let them know support is available. “Most importantly, that we want to let them know they are not alone," he said. "If I can pass one message along to kids who are experiencing or are a witness to bullying, it is to tell someone."
The city’s youth services department is co-ordinating anti-bullying activities today and this year has also partnered with bc211, an information and referral organization, a free, confidential, multilingual 24/7 service that connects people to community, social and government services. It can be accessed by phoning 211 or visiting www.bc211.ca.
Among the events taking place in Port Coquitlam today are pink-themed breakfasts and dinners at the Hyde Away Youth Centre at Hyde Creek rec centre and the Offside Youth Centre at the PoCo rec complex, and thought-provoking activities such as slam poetry by Terry Fox secondary student Jacob Gebrewold.
The city website (www.portcoquitlam.ca/stopbullying) includes links to help raise awareness about and prevent bullying behaviour and resource boards have been posted at the youth centres to help youth understand and avoid bullying behaviour, and find support.
As well, the PoCo Youth Society is joining forces with the I Am Someone anti-bullying campaign to host Challenge Days workshops for youth on Mar. 12, 13 and 14 to educate and raise awareness. (More information is available at www.pocoyouthsociety.com.)
PoCo is also looking at becoming one of the first cities in B.C. to ban bullying and a report will be made to council in the next few months on ways to tackle the issue, with details on the success of similar bylaws in Canada, potential legal issues, enforcement, the RCMP perspective and other related topics.