From left to right, Pen-High’s leadership student organizers for the Be Kind initiative, Jamie Samoyloff, Charlotte Hanna, Kiana Moshaver, and Catrina Whithler. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)

Penticton students take aim at bullying with Be Kind initiative

The initiative aims to replace Anti-Bullying Day with year-round activities.

By Brennan Phillips

Western News Staff

Penticton Secondary School’s leadership students are taking aim at changing minds in a bigger way than just having another Anti-Bullying Day with their new Be Kind initiative.

“We want to take away anti-bullying and change it to be kind, because anybody can say ‘I’m not a bully,’ and just opt out of that, but everyone can be more kind,” said Kiana Moshaver, one of leadership students organizing the initiative. “We want to change it from a one-time to thing to something that’s thought of throughout the year.”

The leadership students are promoting their new initiative and replacing the phrase ‘anti-bullying’ with ‘Be kind … just because.’ The new messaging is already being used on T-shirts given to students, in-school messaging and in monthly events. The 2019 Dry Grad committee students were responsible for securing funding to provide ‘Be Kind’ T-shirts to all members of the Pen High community.

“The idea of the T-shirts is to just have a constant reminder, to be nicer and better. Its a form of advertising, I guess, to Be Kind,” said Charlotte Hanna, one of the leadership organizers. “And it helps everyone to feel welcome.”

Every month Pen High is hosting a different activity, organized and run by students, for the rest of the school to participate in every third Friday. On these days, everyone is encouraged to come to school wearing their Be Kind T-shirt, so that no one will feel excluded, and to remind students to be kind.

“Typically for anti-bullying day they’ll have an assembly or talk at a school, where students sit and listen, but instead we’re having interactive activities for students. Where we come together as a community, as a school, and we do things that are simple ways of promoting kindness,” said Jamie Samoyloff leadership student organizers.

The Be Kind initiative in the school is aimed to replace the singular Anti-Bullying Day in February, and Pen High’s leadership students are working to expand to the rest of the school district and the community.

“We don’t want it to be just random acts of kindness, it should be something that’s thought about and intentional. We want to change the mindset to just be kinder,” said Catrina Whithler, one of the leadership student organizers.

The Pen High leadership students are currently working towards raising funds so that every school in the district can have Be Kind shirts in time for February’s Anti-Bullying day.

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