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Wisdom: Step Up Campaign works to raise awareness for child abuse

October is Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Darcia Borg
Darcia Borg, Executive Director of Dilico Anishinabek Family Care

THUNDER BAY -- A local campaign is stepping up to help fight child abuse

October is Child Abuse Prevention Month and this year marks the 12th consecutive year of Dilico Anishinabek Family Care’s Step Up campaign in Thunder Bay and surrounding communities.

“The Step Up campaign is an awareness campaign," said Dilico Anishabek Family Care executive director Darcia Borg said. "This is our 12th year that we’ve had this Step Up Campaign and it’s about raising awareness about child abuse."

This year the annual campaign is placing voices of Indigenous youth front and centre, and raising awareness about how the community can step up and come Together to help keep children safe and strengthen families.

“Step Up 2021 is about amplifying the voices of Indigenous children and youth and coming together to build toward a future in which we can all feel safe,” said director of Integrated Services of Dilico Anishinabek Family Care John Dixon.

“By doing so we are helping children grow into strong individuals who will be capable of standing up for themselves, identifying child abuse, and will support the health, happiness and safety of children and youth.”

As a part of the 2021 Step Up campaign, Indigenous youth are expressing their views on how the community and individuals can step up and show that every child matters.

“The community can make youth feel safe, connected and hopeful for the future, by being inclusive, including youth opinions, and taking into consideration how things can affect them,” said Daanis Pelletier, Indigenous youth. 

“Also encouraging youth, making them feel like they do matter and how they feel matters, rather than shutting them down because they are younger or not an adult.”

The Step Up campaign started in 2009 in recognition of National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Dilico’s goal behind it is to remind Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities that we are all responsible for the health, happiness and well-being of children and youth.

“I am filled with belief and hope because when I hear the voices of our youth and children, I know that the responsibilities that our ancestors carried are still being carried. We can still hear the voices of the land and the care and love for the children,” said Borg.

  • Participate in Go Purple for Prevention Day on Oct. 27. Find your favourite purple outfit. Take photos or video of your staff, family,students in purple and share them on Facebook and Instagram with #StepUpTBay and tagging @stepupThunderBay. Photos can also be submitted to: stepup@firedogpr.com
  • Wear a purple ribbon
  • Participate in the Step Up Scavenger Hunt
  • Educate yourself. Learn the signs of child abuse and how you can help
  • Take a step: Print this footprint or create your own and write how you commit to step up for children and youth in 2021. Children and youth are also encouraged to write what the community can do to Step Up and make them feel connected, safe and hopeful for their future. Take a photo of your footprint and take the step by sharing it on your socials with hashtag #StepUpTBay and tagging @StepUpThunderbay. You can also post it in your window for the month.
  • Ask yourself, “What am I doing to support children and youth in my community?”
  • Donate to the Mazinaajim Children’s Foundation. Mazinaajim supports Indigenous youth to achieve their dreams.

Dilico also hosted the Come Together Youth Gathering virtually for more 20 local youth on Oct. 13. A motivational talk was provided by Turtle Concepts and there were some pretty amazing prizes for youth who attended and learned how to Step Up and be a leader in the community.

For more information about the Step Up Campaign, visit Dilico’s website.

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