Vanderhoof-wide dance, message sharing for anti-bullying

Town-wide dance, message sharing for anti-bullying

In 2013

In 2013

Over 800 Vanderhoof kids, decked in pink, will rock the streets of downtown Vanderhoof on Feb. 24 to dance against bullying.

It’s Pink Shirt Day, when Canadians across the country are urged to wear pink in support of the annual anti-bullying campaign.

While past Pink Shirt Day events in the district included a town march down Burrard Avenue, as well as a flash mob from W. L. McLeod Elementary students in 2013, this year’s plans promised to be bigger by involving not only all elementary schools of Vanderhoof — including W. L. McLeod, Evelyn Dickson, Sinkut View, Mapes, and Northside Christian School — but also businesses and community groups, said teacher Kim Worthington from W. L. McLeod Elementary.

“We’ve got big plans for the day,” Worthington explained. “We’ve been using the Shawn Mendes song ‘Believe’ as our focus this year.”

In the 17-year-old Canadian singer’s music video, crowds danced and completed the sentence “I believe” with different ideas in various languages on giant outdoor blackboards, while Mendes sang, “Don’t be afraid to be who you are, just scream out and shout and follow the stars.”

It’s an inspiring song, Worthington said.

“We chose it because we believe in the message of believing in all the positive possibilities there are in this world,” she said.

Neon pink posters for Vanderhoof’s citizens to contribute their beliefs will be distributed to businesses, community groups, as well as care homes, in the week of Feb. 15.

On Feb. 24, the posters will be displayed on store windows for community support

Students are currently learning the choreography of the street-wide dance in preparation, and the community is invited to dress in pink and line Burrard Ave in support during the event at 12:30 p.m.

The day is important not just for students, but also for all as a community to band together.

“It would be so supportive for all these kids…a real positive message for our community,” Worthington said. “There will be lots more info to follow, but I wanted to put a bug in everyone’s ear.

“So you can start to collect as much pink as you can.”

Pink Shirt Day originated in 2007 when a Grade 9 student in Nova Scotia was bullied for wearing a pink polo shirt on the first day of school.

When two Grade 12 students heard about the incident, they bought 50 discount pink shirts for distribution to all boys to wear on the next day.

Though only their classmates were emailed that night, hundreds of other students wore their pink clothes in support, sparking a movement across the country .

In 2008, former premier Gordon Campbell declared Feb. 27 as the provincial anti-bullying day.