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

Missing Kelowna woman, Cassy Miller found dead

Miller went missing Nov. 6 and was found 10 days later

Crash closes Highway 33 south of Kelowna

Estimated time of re-opening is 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18

Kelowna’s definitive Christmas market list

We’ve prepared a list of every market in the Central Okanagan

Your guide to winter light ups around the Okanagan

From Vernon to Summerland, with a stop in Kelowna, we’ve found some activities for you to enjoy

Saving salmon: B.C. business man believes hatcheries can help bring back the fish

Tony Allard worked with a central coast First Nation to enhance salmon stocks

High-end B.C. house prices dropping, but no relief at lower levels

But experts say home ownership remains out of reach for many for middle- and lower-income families

Worker killed in collision at B.C. coal mine

Vehicle collision occurred at approximately 10:45 a.m. this morning

B.C. asking for tips on ‘dirty money’ in horse racing, real estate, luxury cars

Action follows a Peter German report on money laundering in B.C. casinos

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

South region forestry workers nearly in legal strike position

Talks broke down between USW and IFLRA, resulting in booking out of provincial mediator

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

Most Read