Community members heard positive ways to help stamp out bullying at the annual Pink Shirt Breakfast in Kelowna. - Image: Kathy Michaels

Pink Shirt breakfast: Be kind, compassionate

Kelowna event celebrates inclusiveness and puts the spotlight on anti-bullying campaign

The Laurel Packinghouse was awash with pink Wednesday morning as Kelowna residents banded together to address bullying.

“The pink shirt day message today is about kindness compassion and understanding because without that we’re nothing,” said Diane Entwistle, CEO of the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club. “We need to figure out ways to continue to be kind and compassionate and have that understanding and acceptance of those who aren’t like us.”

Each day, said Entwistle, the men and women who work at the Boys and Girls Club encounter children who have dealt with damaging social behaviour.

Statistics indicate that one in five kids experience bullying while two in three teenagers report having some sort of experience in the digital world that is harassing, bullying or discriminatory.

“That’s something we didn’t have to deal with when we were growing up,” Entwistle said. “There may have been stuff in the school or in our neighbourhoods, but we could go home and shut the door. That doesn’t happen anymore.”

Just as the problem of bullying is more nuanced than it was generations ago, so too is the solution.

“We work with kids who are so desperate to fit in and find their place that sometimes they’re victims of bullying and bullying behaviours. And sometimes they’re the ones who exhibit bullying behaviours,” she said.

“They bully other people to get that sense of belonging or sense of self worth. So when we think about that we need to figure out ways for kids to pick up the skills, the strengths and the resiliency to deal not only with being a victim but also to deal with those feelings of needing to exert their power and influence over others.”

Resiliency was the focus of the keynote speaker, Wednesday morning.

Beth Hanishewski is a happiness coach, and when she addressed the crowd at the Laurel Packinghouse she asked them to look inward to suss out their own internal resources.

There are four things she wanted people to focus on — relationships, physical activity, career and spirituality.

In each category, she asked people to give themselves a score out of 10. If there was an area that’s lacking, she said, focus needs to be turned toward it because these areas are the foundation of the type of resiliency that needs to be modelled for a younger generation.

“We can’t teach our kids how to bounce back if we’re falling apart. We can’t do it,” she said.

Pink Shirt Day is an attempt to build on the momentum started in 2007 by David Shepherd, Travis Price and their teenage friends. They organized a high-school protest to wear pink in sympathy with a Grade 9 boy who was being bullied for wearing a pink shirt. They wore pink in solidarity and then distributed pink T-shirts to all the boys in their school.

That gesture of kindness snowballed and countries across the globe are now organizing anti-bullying fundraisers of their own, including Japan, New Zealand, China, Panama, and numerous others. In fact, last year alone, people in almost 180 countries shared their support of Pink Shirt Day through social media posts and donations.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Sabine Ernst, Dani Gonzalez and Victoria Laaber of Two Hat Security sell baked goods in Kelowna on Feb. 28, 2018 as a fundraiser for Pink Shirt Day. The tech company raised $541 during the bake sale which they will match and donate. Image credit: Carmen Weld

Just Posted

Six people now mulling a mayoral bid in Kelowna this October

Five challengers and incumbent Colin Basran have picked up election packages for Oct. 20 civic vote

UPDATE: Crews still working to contain the wildfire north of Okanagan Connector

Update: Aug. 15 9:23 p.m. The Gottfriedsen Mountain wildfire, which was sparked… Continue reading

New urban winery approved by West Kelowna Council

The new winery will be located in the industrial area

Central Okanagan firefighters are battling wildfires across B.C.

Lake Country, Kelowna and Peachland crews are assisting the BC Wildfire Service

Short-term rentals could be allowed in Lake Country by next week

A bylaw for short-term rentals will be up for adoption during Tuesday’s council meeting

Interim GoFundMe payments approved in Humboldt Broncos crash

$50,000 to be given to each of the 13 survivors and each family of the 16 people who died

Altidore nets 3 as Toronto drubs Whitecaps 5-2

Vancouver falls 7-4 on aggregate in Canadian Championship final

Ottawa intervenes to get B.C. ball player, 13, to Little League World Series

Before immigration issue was resolved, Dio Gama was out practicing the game he loves Wednesday

Pet goldfish invades small B.C. lake

Pinecrest Lake is located between Whistler and Squamish

Mounties deployed to help B.C. communities affected by wildfires

RCMP officers heading to places particularly within central, northern and southern B.C.

Chinese medicine practitioner in B.C. facing historical sex assault charges

71-year old Kit Wong practiced acupuncture from his home during the time of the assaults

Quebec sets aside $900 million for companies hurt by U.S. tariffs

Premier Philippe Couillard says his government will make $863 million available over five years

Ex-B.C. teachers’ union leader among latest pipeline protesters to get jail time

Twelve people have been sentenced for violating court order to stay away from Kinder Morgan terminal

Most Read