Have you ever thought about what ‘belonging’ means? For some, an exclusive Club might come to mind, and to others, it might conjure up feelings of security and safety. If you ask kids (as I did recently), they say it means that ‘you fit in’, and when people are nice to you. ‘Belonging’ isn’t a thing, it is an experience, a feeling. It happens when you are with people who won’t judge you. You feel it when the people around you see you, hear you, and when you realize that you matter to them.
At Boys and Girls Clubs, we know about belonging not only because we’ve experienced it, but because we are in the business of creating it… on purpose, for kids and families all across South Coast BC. And while we do that work every day of the year, we always look forward to February, when it feels as if “the rest of the world” gets a booster shot for treating each other well, through the Pink Shirt Day campaign. What does belonging have to do with the Annual Pink Shirt Day campaign? Simple: belonging is the antidote to bullying. Whether it’s the bully, the by-stander, or the victim of bullying, having a sense of belonging can be the difference between dangerous isolation (or worse) and putting an end to bullying, because having strong, positive connections to others makes it easier to ask for help.
So, this February, we’re actively promoting Pink Shirt Day, because BGC is one of the fortunate recipients of CKNW Orphans’ Fund campaign support, and because we’ve seen how the campaign is making positive social change. Just ask our BGC kids! They’ll tell you about how they know what to do when they see someone being a bully at school, or a story about how some of their friends bullied them in the past, but how its ok now because they got help from an adult to work things through. The most inspiring stories are the ones where the kids are the heroes because they help adults to recognize and change their behaviours for the better. We hope you’ll join in too, because it’s going to take all of us to change the world!