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Surrey school makes pink shirt promise

Bear Creek Elementary students help raise funds and awareness for anti-bullying initiatives.
From left: Diya Khangura

Students at Bear Creek Elementary are making a promise.

Spearheaded by the school’s leadership class, students are vowing to make a difference when it comes to bullying.

Through the Classroom Champions Leadership Project, Bear Creek Elementary students are marking Pink Shirt Day on Wednesday, Feb. 22 by raising funds for anti-bullying initiatives.

The Pink Shirt Day movement has its roots in Nova Scotia a decade ago, when in 2007, two high school students decided to distribute pink shirts at their school in support of a fellow student who was being bullied. Since then, the momentum has spread worldwide.

Locally, for every #PinkShirtPromise that is posted on social media, Shaw Communications will donate $1 to anti-bullying initiatives. The kids at Bear Creek Elementary hope to photograph every student at their school wearing a pink shirt and post as many photos as possible.

The students have also designed an “I Promise” pink shirt template on paper, where students can write down their individual goals and promises.

Gurjot Bhatti, 12, has personally sent out more than 100 tweets so far and is looking to help raise as much awareness as the can.

“I just want to make a difference and to help prevent bullying from happening,” he said.

For classmate Diya Khangura, 11, the project has given her the confidence to stand up and say something if she sees someone who needs help.

“I once saw this girl being bullied when she was just trying to be nice, but I didn’t say anything,” said Khangura. “But now I would be able to stand up and help.”

Grade 7 teacher Laurie Nociar said the students are feeling empowered by the social media project.

“Their goal is to get a picture of every kid at our school in a pink shirt by Pink Shirt Day and post the photo and hashtag on social media,” said Nociar. “And they feel by doing this, our school can make a big donation to anti-bullying campaigns across the province.”

Since first getting involved in pink shirt initiatives last year, Nociar has seen a tremendous boost of confidence at the school.

“For the leadership students, it’s also so valuable for when they go to high school and they have the confidence to stand up and speak in front a crowd, to take charge and organize things and take the lead and be a positive influence,” she said. “There are multi layers of goodness.”

Funds raised will go to the Red Cross: Beyond the Hurt Program and the Boys and Girls Club.