Bullying is a prevalent problem in Canadian society with 75 per cent reporting that they have been affected by it.
The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Victoria is trying to educate youth with an annual Youth United Anti-Bullying Film Festival on Wednesday (Feb. 25) at École Victor-Brodeur. The event also celebrates Pink Shirt Day.
In 2008, the provincial government proclaimed Feb. 27 as Pink Shirt Day after a movement started by two youth who heard about a Grade 9 student who was bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school.
The two youth went to a local dollar store and purchased 50 pink shirts and distributed them among friends.
Event leader, Ian Culbertson of the Boys and Girls club says children and youth feel very vocal about this issue.
“The film festival is a big deal for the kids in the communities we serve because it gives them a chance to have their voices heard about how bullying affects them,” said Culbertson.
Canadian researchers for bullying prevention report that children who are bullied suffer more headaches, depression and anxiety. For the bullies themselves, they are more likely to commit suicide and become involved with criminal activity.
“I believe if they are engaged and craving the message, then the message becomes more internalized,” said Kate Mansell, Director of Development and Communications for the club.
Youth create 30-second public service announcements that give creative and unique anti-bullying messages. Victoria’s Community Centre Network (CCN), review the the PSAs to be screened at the event where they will next be judged by a panel of local public figures.
“We’ve had great attendance in the past years, and it’s a testament to how engaged and vocal children and youth are about this issue,” said Culbertson.
The event does not only benefit the youth but also the community.
“We take the lead it’s good for us to be exposed to the community and to demonstrate to the community that our youth are caring and want to do something,” said Mansell.
The film festival runs from 6:30 to 9 p.m.
For more information, please call 250-384-9133.