Wednesday, 25 January 2017 11:49

Plenty of ways to support Red Cross Pink Day

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Natascha Thoennes, outreach coordinator for disaster management at the Saskatchewan branch of the Canadian Red Cross, with the new Pink Day socks that are available for sale this year for Red Cross Pink Day. Natascha Thoennes, outreach coordinator for disaster management at the Saskatchewan branch of the Canadian Red Cross, with the new Pink Day socks that are available for sale this year for Red Cross Pink Day.

The Canadian Red Cross is asking Saskatchewan residents to join the efforts to stop bullying and to build safe and respectful communities.


The organization’s annual bullying prevention awareness event, Red Cross Pink Day, is taking place Feb. 22 and there are various ways for people to show their support and to get involved.
They can buy official Pink Day merchandise, which is now available for sale at redcross.ca/pinksk.
“The website has a lot of resources that is a great place to go, not just if you want to order shirts, but also if you just want to find out more,” said Natascha Thoennes, outreach co-ordinator for disaster management at the Saskatchewan branch of the Canadian Red Cross. “This website really will give people that information about the kind of education we do, the kind of programs, how they can get involved in other ways, if they’re looking to become a volunteer, because we’re a volunteer run organization.”
Funds raised from the sale of Pink Day gear will stay in Saskatchewan and every $20 raised will assist the Red Cross to reach one student with bullying prevention education.
“We say that one t-shirt sold is one more student that we can reach,” she said. “Last year, we had 16,000 shirts. We sold out. So that’s 16,000 students more.”
The Red Cross has an ambitious goal to provide bullying prevention education to another 20,000 students in 2017.
“The goal is by the end of 2019, so we have another two years, to get our presentations to all of the students in Saskatchewan,” she said. “One in three students now is getting Respect education. … If we sell out of shirts this year it’s another 20,000 more students that we can reach.”
In addition to Pink Day t-shirts and polo shirts, there is a new item available this year — colourful Pink Day socks.
“Last year, we had the polo shirts,”she said. “This year the socks are brand new. So something a little different.”
Red Cross Pink Day can be an opportunity for organizations to show their support for bullying prevention through the purchase of Pink Day gear for staff. It can be combined with a special event such as a dress-down day or a fundraising activity to engage staff. Alternatively an organization can team up with a school to put on an event.
“Some businesses will have a breakfast or a lunch that they do or they do a visit to a school,” she said. “So (there is)a lot of freedom to really plan an event that’s centred around building strong community and strong students in whatever way.”
Organizations have the option to use Red Cross Pink Day as an opportunity to create healthy workplaces through Respect in the Workplace training. This 90-minute, online program will provide employees with information about the effects of discrimination, harassment and workplace bullying.
Another way to get involved with Red Cross Pink Day is to sponsor a classroom of 30 students for $500 or an entire school for $2,500.
“It could be your children’s classroom you could sponsor or any kind of classroom you would like to,” she said. “For those businesses that want to, they actually could sponsor an entire small school.”
Thoennes encouraged people and organizations to use social media to make the Red Cross aware of their Pink Day events. Twitter users can connect with the Red Cross at @RedCrossSK and they can use the hashtags #PinkDay and #ImagineNoBullying.
“We want you to be live on social media so that we can follow all of that, so that we can keep promoting that,” she said. “If there is a business that’s doing something, we can let people know. Some businesses do things and they don’t say anything. Tell us, we want to tell the world that you are doing something.”
This year the official Red Cross Pink Day, Feb. 22, will coincide with a school break and the Red Cross in Saskatchewan is therefore also promoting the week of Feb. 13 to 17 for Pink Day activities.
“There will be events happening all over the province and that's when the schools are going to be doing various activities,

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Matthew Liebenberg

Reporter/Photographer