Canstar Community News - ONLINE EDITION
Elmwood schools stand up to bullying
Two Elmwood schools were among hundreds across the country who were sure to think pink on April 10.
Elmwood High School and Kent Road School held Day of Pink celebrations to raise awareness of bullying, discrimination, homophobia, and transphobia in schools.
Elmwood Grade 8 student Sophie Rivera said the Day of Pink hits home for her.
"In my elementary school, I never really had friends, so when I see kids being bullied, I want to help them," said Rivera, adding things have since improved for her. "I know how they feel."
Elmwood High’s noon-hour celebrations involved a pink photo booth, games and music, while pink cupcakes were on sale. In addition to starting a discussion about making school life better, organizers also worked to raise awareness of women’s issues, seniors’ issues and human trafficking.
Organizers raised $600 at a coffee house in March, hanging onto $100 to put toward prizes for April 10, and then gave $250 each to Bethania Mennonite Care Home, located at 1045 Concordia Ave., and Sage House, located at 422 Dufferin Ave. Proceeds from the Day of Pink will be donated to the Rainbow Resource Centre located at 170 Scott St., raising $150.
Grade 11 student Christine Wilkie had the opportunity to visit Sage House, which helps women and transgendered women deal with a variety of issues.
"We went to Sage House and it was awesome," she said. "We were very surprised when we got there, because it was extremely homey. We kind of thought it would just be a building, but it was a home."
Organizing teacher Chantelle Cotton has been working with some of the student council members upwards of five years, and has seen how they’ve gradually taken on more and more responsibility in these initiatives.
Cotton said students came up with the idea to add a hula-hoopathon to the already-popular basketball hoopathon, a sign they’re working to help build the event.
"They basically took the old ideas that they’d seen us do in the past few years and made it their own," she said. "The younger kids are learning from the older kids."
Down the street at Kent Road School, members of the Cool to be Kind campaign visited students, as did Coun. Thomas Steen (East Kildonan-Elmwood), who sponsors the campaign through the Amadeus Steen Foundation.
Resource teacher Brenda Ryant hopes the day helps to instil the message of treating others properly.
"The biggest message is stand up. Don’t be a bystander," she said. "We want to empower them.
"Even a little four-year-old can do it. Anybody can."
Day of Pink started in 2007 after two straight high school students in Nova Scotia stood up for a gay student who was wearing a pink shirt.
For more information, visit www.dayofpink.org.
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