Members of the Strathmore community are not going to be quiet about the issue of child abuse. In fact, they are going to make some noise.
This Saturday, Sept. 26, members of the Strathmore chapter of Guardians of the Children (GOC), a biker organization supporting children, are leading a procession through town to bring awareness to child abuse in what will be a local version of an international event.
The group will be meeting at the curling club (180 Brent Blvd.) parking lot at 6 p.m. and a procession of motorbikes will start at 6:30 p.m. After moving around town, the group will return to the ag grounds at 7:30 p.m. for a flame-free candlelight vigil.
“What I want to see is that this event can have a little bit of an impact in our community to raise awareness, because this kind of stuff does happen,” said Reg Berg, GOTC Strathmore chapter president.
The issue of abuse too often gets ignored, said Reg Berg, GOC Strathmore chapter president. “Our motto with GOC is ‘don’t let your silence drown out their cries’, because so often, people don’t want to talk about these things or get involved.”
To fight abuse, everyone should keep their eyes open and not be afraid to react to anything suspicious, said Berg. “Don’t leap to conclusions, but also don’t just ignore it,” he said. “If you see something that raises those flags, address it in some way; that may mean sharing your concern with someone else.”
Helping to organize the event is Amber Smith, a bus driver with Golden Hills School Division (GHSD) and mother of two boys, who has requested GHSD get involved and has spread word of the event through a Calgary radio station and by social media.
Through her profession, Smith has gained understanding of bullying – another issue the event is intended to highlight – and what can be done to address it.
“There’s so many different personalities and there’s so many ways that these kids can be influenced by other kids,” she said. “We need to stop bullying now, instead of having the repercussions in the future.
“You can’t expect kids to have a great day at school when they just got bullied to the point that their feelings are hurt or their mental health is being disrupted by whatever was said to them.”
Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times