Rakaia McCarthy, left, and Denise Soreg, the ‘Mercedes Lane gals,’ sport pink wigs for the Works of HeArt anti-bullying human heart event held at Community Park in Parksville Sunday, Feb. 25, 2018. See more on the event in Thursday’s PQB News and online at www.pqbnews.com. — J.R. Rardon photo

Parksville high school holds contest in lead up to Pink Shirt Day

Business also hosting event in support of initiative

Dude, be nice.

That’s the Ballenas Leadership’s newest contest in the lead up to Pink Shirt Day.

According to the school’s new student news site, Ballenas Wave, the leadership group is holding the Dude, Be Nice contest “to encourage students around Ballenas to recognize and acknowledge all the kindess that they receive.”

Students have been able to fill out one ballot per day with their own name and what act of kindness they performed.

Then at the end of each day, a draw was held for a winner who received one of 10 “Dude, Be Nice” shirts. The con

Pink Shirt Day, according to the initiative’s website, started in Nova Scotia when two men, David Shepherd and Travis Price, organized a high-school protest to wear pink in support of a Grade 9 boy who was bullied for wearing a pink shirt.

That first “Pink Shirt Day” was in 2007. Pink Shirt Day will be Wednesday, Feb. 28 this year.

Now, nearly 180 countries around the world are supporting the Pink Shirt Day initiative through social media and donations.

Rudy Terpstra, BSS principal, said on Monday (Feb. 26), Ballenas will have a cross-school mini lesson on the background and purpose behind Pink Shirt Day.

BSS child and youth care worker Janyce McKee has been working with Grades 9-12 for the last few years on an organizer they call “Pinkindness.”

When she arrived at BSS four years ago, McKee said, she reallized the school didn’t put on a Pink Shirt Day assembly, but the school did host Pink Shirt Day-themed activities.

“The following year I approached some students and together we developed a presentation that was student-lead and had a variety of ways in which we presented,” said McKee, adding students present speeches, poetry, songs and a video they present to Grade 8s and 9s.

McKee said since then, she and her students have taken the presentation to multiple elementary schools in School District 69 (Qualicum) as well as a couple of elementary schools in the Nanaimo school district.

“Our goal is help put an end to bullying 365 days a year, not just on Pink Shirt Day,” McKee said.

Since 2008, net proceeds of more than $1.8 million have been distributed to support youth anti-bullying programs in British Columbia and western Canada, according to Pink Shirt Day’s website. Over the month of February, the CKNW Kids’ Fund’s pink Shirt Day aims to raise awareness of bullying as well as raise funds to support anti-bullying programs.

In Parksville, Harris Oceanside will be hosting a barbecue from noon to 2 p.m. at the dealership (512 Island Hwy. E, Parksville) on Pink Shirt Day (Feb. 28).

There will also be a silent auction on the Facebook page (www.facebook.com/HarrisOceansideGM) with 100 per cent of the proceeds going to the CKNW’s Orphan’s Fund to help children who are being bullied.

The barbecue will be $3 for a hot dog and a pop, along with an additional donation jar for those who wish to donate more.

The silent auction will run from Feb. 28 to March 4.

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