The 2021 Pink Shirt Day campaign, organized by the Boys and Girls Club and Big Brothers Big Sisters, closed the month of February on a positive and encouraging note.
Pink Shirt day was celebrated on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, but the organizers say its message of inclusion and diversity is a part of the Boys and Girls Club programs every day of the year.
"We are happy to say we have sold over 2,600 shirts this year, surpassing even previous years' sales," said Amanda Guarino, Supervisor, Community Engagement, Boys and Girls Club of Kingston & Area. "This is incredible amid the pandemic and really shows how Kingston is a giving, caring, and supportive community. All pink shirt sales fund our year-round anti-bullying and positive mentoring programs, adding healthy relationship components to our after-school, summer camps, and specific education programs."
Guarino said they had over 700 community members interacting with them, and had spread their anti-bullying message to more than 4,000 people in Kingston.
“We are especially thankful to our title sponsor, Terra Nova Truss, and the support received from annual partners like Kawartha Credit Union and McDonald’s,” Guarino added. “This allowed us to provide over 270 pink shirts to the children and youth we serve, making our members feel a special sense of belonging to their peers and to the campaign.”
Proceeds of pink shirt sales are going straight into anti-bullying and positive mentoring programs for children and youth in Kingston.
“On Pink Shirt Day, we ran a workshop with our youth members that had them reflect on their bullying experiences, and even got them to talk about instances when they themselves were unkind to others and what they learned,” said Devin Reynolds, Senior Manager at the West End Hub of the Boys and Girls Club.
“We focused our programs with younger children on cyber-bullying, social media, and how to stay safe online,” Reynolds continued. “It really brings our campaign to life to hear kids saying ‘kindness means sticking up for people’ and ‘kindness means not being mean to someone else for liking different things’.”
The funds raised will keep programs like these operating and reaching more than 400 children and youth in Kingston after-school everyday, throughout the year. “All of us had an important part in making the campaign have this transformative character,” Guarino said. “Thank you, Kingston, for standing with us against bullying and showing that our community leads with kindness.”
“With your support, children are learning and growing into confident, supportive and inclusive leaders,” she said.
To watch a brief video on the 2021 Pink Shirt Day campaign and to support year-round anti-bullying programs, please visit www.bgckingston.ca
Jessica Foley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com