Children in Qualicum First Nation joined people around the world to stand against bullying during the 14th annual Pink Shirt Day.
The kids have been learning about being kind, sharing and caring this week, said Debbie Scaife, childcare programs manager for the Qualicum Child Care Centre.
Children as young as three helped decorate their own shirts using the centre’s new t-shirt printer. “The kids were really excited to see their own artwork,” said Scaife.
B.C.’s theme this year is ‘lift each other up’, and means accepting and respecting people, regardless of race, culture, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.
“This past year has been particularly hard for kids, with so many young people experiencing increased stress and mental health challenges as a result of the pandemic,” reads a joint state by Premier John Horgan, Jennifer Whiteside, minister of education and Carol Todd, founder of the Amanda Todd Legacy Society.
“By lifting each other up and wearing pink today, we are standing in solidarity against bullying and letting kids know they aren’t alone.”
Scaife said the older children discussed what bullying meant to them and wrote it on their shirts. She added some children are spending their time at the centre, rather than school because of COVID-19 concerns. This was the first year kids at the centre have made their own shirts for Pink Shirt Day, according to Scaife.
“We’re learning on the land and we teach Hulq’umi’num as well to all the children,” she said, adding children from Bowser, Spider Lake, Horne Lake and Qualicum learn at the centre, not only kids from Qualicum First Nation.
Pink Shirt Day began in 2007 when two Nova Scotia students stood up for a classmate being bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school.