Every year on Pink Shirt Day, Seon employees put on pink shirts to support communities in their efforts to end bullying and inspire young people to stand up against abusive behavior. And this year was no exception. The theme of this year’s Pink Shirt Day 2016 was “Kindness is one size fits all”. Our employees believe that we all have the capacity to be kind and make impact on someone else’s life, showing empathy and compassion.
Bullying comes in many forms from verbal threats to physical violence and intimidation. It’s been a problem for many years: 3 in 4 Canadian adults say they were bullied while in school according to the Angus Reid Institute online poll. And the only way we can change the situation is to stand up together against abusive behavior and promote kindness.
When our team gathered together on Pink Shirt Day to discuss our anti-bullying initiatives for the coming year, we looked back at what was done in previous years. It was amazing to see how our small local anti-bullying movement started here, at Seon, expanded into a national social campaign – United Against Bullying. Our parent company Safe Fleet and all its brands have now joined forces united by one cause to help end bullying in communities and empower young people. Since the Safe Fleet United Against Bullying program launched in July 2015 more than 2,000 students from all across Canada and the U.S. took part in the campaign’s first coloring contest last fall. We also received 65 applications for the anti-bullying Grant program that was open to transportation departments of national schools. All applicants presented great inspiring initiatives and projects that will be implemented in school communities this year. These programs reward positive student behavior, provide support services for youth, and empower kids to stand up against violence or abuse.
Last year, during Seon’s annual anti-bullying BBQ Fundraiser, our employees raised almost $1,000 for Canadian anti-bullying organizations, including CKNW Orphans’ Fund’s Pink Shirt Day. In December, Mike Bismeyer, Sales Manager - Transit Division at Seon, and Lisa A. Radesco, Human Resource Manager, FRC, visited Minnesauke Elementary School from East Setauket, NY, to present a grant award and meet the activists of their anti-bullying S.T.A.R.S. program. The main message that Mike shared with students was all about kindness: “…no matter what you do every day, you are leaving an impression on somebody else. When you are not so nice people remember that, when you are nice people remember that more.” And this idea ties really well with the theme of this year’s Pink Shirt Day: Kindness is One Size Fits All.
To spread positive messages among kids, our team attended the Pink Shirt Day Assembly at Castle Park Elementary School in Port Coquitlam, BC. Lori Jetha, Seon’s Marketing Manager, explained to the kids what our company does to end bullying, including such activities as coloring contest for students and grant awards for schools. Mike Bismeyer taught kids how to be kind and “be a Buddy, not a Bully”: “I want you guys to promise, that when you hear bad things you say to that person “Hey, be kind”, so you step in if you know that someone is being bullied and you help them out”. Then Mike introduced students to the official mascot of the anti-bullying program - Buddy the Safety Bear. Each classroom also received their own “LittleBuddy” – a small stuffed bear that will remind them to be kind every day at school. It was inspiring to hear the excited voices of kids promising to be nice and supportive at the end of the Assembly.
Investing in Kindness
This year, Seon takes an active part in the United Against Bullying campaign.
On Pink Shirt Day, Safe Fleet and all its brands, including Seon, opened the application process for 2016 United Against Bullying Grant program to offer up to $55,000 in grant funding for anti-bullying education and awareness initiatives empowering youth. The funds will be distributed to successful applicants who present the best action plans and strategies to address bullying in their communities and prevent abusive behavior. You can read the official press-release here.
As we all know, a lot of incidents of bullying are never reported by kids, because very often kids are afraid to share their pain with anyone else or they are at a loss and don't know what to do. To help solve this problem, this year we've partnered with a charitable organization – I Am Someone (IAS), located in Port Coquitlam. IAS uses technology to provide support to victims of bullying by way of a unique txt2TALK texting service. Through partnership with bc211, the platform provides youth with immediate access to professional support for the issues they shouldn’t have to face alone. To help fund this service, in May 2016, we will raise money for IAS during the Vancouver Marathon, when a united team of employees from Safe Fleet and its brands will run various races from 5 to 42 km.
As we continue growing the anti-bullying movement across North America, we encourage everyone to practice kindness and join our community to put end to abusive behavior and help us create a safe, respectful environment for generations to come.
Learn more about the United Against Bullying Program at http://unitedagainstbullying.net/