British Columbia

Pink Shirt Day provides vital funding for anti-bullying campaigns

The national T-shirt campaign raises money for anti-bullying initiatives, including the Beyond the Hurt youth peer program run by the Red Cross here in B.C.

The annual anti-bullying T-shirt campaign raises funds for programs across the country

The anti-bullying t-shirt campaign began 10 years ago, inspired by two Nova Scotian high-school students who encouraged their entire school to don pink after another student was bullied for wearing a pink shirt. Here, hundreds of students and anti-bullying advocates rallied in downtown Vancouver in 2014. (CBC)

Students and anti-bullying advocates across British Columbia will be donning pink to commemorate annual Pink Shirt Day today.

The national T-shirt campaign raises money for anti-bullying initiatives, including the Beyond the Hurt youth peer program run here in B.C. by the Red Cross.

Meghan Toal, a coordinator for the program, says a significant amount of her program's funding comes from the campaign.

She says bullying remains a significant problem for many school-aged youth, especially because of changing technology.

"Whereas in the past the bell rang at three o'clock, we went home and we got that private space and we got a break from whatever was happening in our school environment," she said.

"Nowadays, kids don't get that break because of their connectedness. When the bell rings at three o'clock, the cell phone rings 10 minutes later, possibly with a post or something on social media."

Her organization's program uses a peer-to-peer facilitation model, which Toal says is more effective than a top-down approach.

"We know that they are a far more effective at spreading that message and having an impact on their peers than any adults could be," she said.

"They have more credibility. They understand the issues that are happening for their peers."

B.C. Premier Christy Clark donned a pink shirt today and tweeted she was "so proud of what #PinkShirtDay has become. When we see bullying, we will stand up and we will stop it." (Christer Waara/CBC)

Pink Shirt Day was inspired by a 2007 event in which two Nova Scotian high school students encouraged their entire school to don pink after another student was bullied for wearing a pink shirt.

With files from The Early Edition


To listen to the interview, click on the link labelled B.C. commemorates Pink Shirt Day

now