Tikinagan Child and Family Services, along with the Nishnawbe Aski Police Service (NAPS), the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), the Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority (SLFNHA), and Nishnawbe-Aski Nation (NAN) are teaming up to raise awareness about the effects of bullying and cyberbullying on youth and children.
The new anti-bullying campaign launched in 30 First Nations communities and is part of Tikinagan’s prevention program Mamow Oshki Pimagihowin, working together to learn new life skills. The community-based prevention program partnership with local service providers and First Nation leaders identifies needs and priorities of the people and communities.
Rachel Tinney, Tikinagan Associate Executive Director says, “We believe the answer lies within the community. That is why we are looking to our children and youth to be the answer and be empowered to make the change in their own communities.”
Children and youth leading the way
The anti-bullying campaign commenced on Oct. 19 and started with a two-part contest targeting First Nation children and youth grades 1 to 12.
Earlier this month, more than 130 children and youth submitted a slogan for the anti-bullying campaign. These slogans were judged by seven youth from Saugeen, Poplar Hill, Bearskin Lake, Lac Seul, Sandy Lake, Pikangikum and Mishkeegogamang.
Top 5 finalists came from Poplar Hill, Weagamow, Lac Seul and Deer Lake with Joni from Lac Seul creating the winning slogan, “Red Alert, Bullying Hurts!”
Starting Nov. 24, the second part of the contest invites children and youth to submit a logo to compliment this winning slogan, and will also be judged by a panel of First Nation youth. Deadline for logo submissions is Dec. 4.
Once the winning logo is declared, Tikinagan will embark on a series of educational activities in schools to raise awareness about the detrimental effects of bullying and cyber-bullying and the role everyone in the community has in preventing bullying.
Partnering to prevent bullying and cyber-bullying
Through this campaign Tikinagan hopes to further the message in the community and how everyone can work together to prevent bullying and cyber-bullying.
Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority Manager of Raising our Children, Candi Edwards says her organization is pleased to support this anti-bullying initiative with Tikinagan.
“Raising our Children is an approach to ensuring the children and families in the communities are supported, and children are being raised with strong connections to family, community, spirituality, land, culture, language, and each other,” she says, “Resources and campaigns such as this one provides youth with the tools they need in order to build healthy relationships and will help put an end to the bullying and lateral violence that is so prevalent in our communities.”
Tikinagan has developed a Resource Guide for educators, service workers and community professionals that explains the effects of bullying and cyber-bullying on children and youth and what people of all ages in all communities can do to prevent bullying.
Additional Resources, contest cards and rules, and updates on the campaign can be found at www.tikinagan.org.