A local group of motorcycle riders hopes to celebrate children and youth who are taking a stand against bullying and helping their friends.
“Bikers are Buddies Canada Inc. is a federally registered not-for-profit organization created by bikers to raise awareness and empower the community to fight the terrible effects of bullying on young people through education, community outreach and fundraising.” (babcanada.ca)
Tony Litousky is president of the Medicine Hat branch of the group, which was started in Calgary and is made up entirely of volunteers.
“That’s one thing that I really enjoy about being part of this group,” said Litousky. “No one’s making money off the members.”
Litousky joined BaBC in February. He’s been able to participate in a few things with the group already and really enjoys it.
“We went for a ride out to Brooks for a youth that was being bullied in his neighbourhood,” Litousky said. “We don’t confront the police or anything, but we do show support for those kids that need it. We showed up with about 35 bikes and everybody got to talk to the young lad, and just by appearance he hasn’t been bullied since.”
Litousky says the new idea for the Buddy Award is to help protect youth against bullying and was started by the founder.
“He wanted to recognize youth that help protect their friends or ward off bullies,” said Litousky. “We get youth to nominate their friends that have helped them in situations and we present them with a certificate and ‘Bikers are Buddies’ swag. There’s a water bottle and a T-shirt as well.”
Kids can nominate others who have stood up to bullies or helped protect others. Litousky says there are posters hung around the city about the Buddy Award. A nomination form can also be found online at http://www.babcanada.ca/buddy-award.
“We’re actually going to be presenting two awards to two youths at 7 p.m. on Wednesday,” Litousky said. “We’re going to be doing it at the Be YOUth Centre and presenting them with the certificate and the swag to tell them we appreciate them helping their friends.”
Litousky wants people to know that ‘Bikers are Buddies’ is just one of the groups available to help kids and youth.
“There are supports out there for kids that are being bullied, it’s just a matter of looking. I’m hoping that some of them come forward so we can help them and support them at their time of crisis.”
LAUREN THOMSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News