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Airdrie businesses are thinking pink to promote anti-bullying

By: Kristen Spruit

  |  Posted: Thursday, Feb 20, 2014 06:00 am

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A friendly competition has sprung up between two Airdrie businesses, which are painting the town pink in support of the Airdrie Boys and Girls Club (BGC) fundraiser leading up to Pink Shirt Day on Feb. 26.

Since Feb. 1, 16 Airdrie businesses have been selling paper pink shirts for $2 to raise money for the BGC’s bullying prevention programs, but the Airdrie Registry and the Hair Lounge are trying to out-do each other in sales.

“We heard through the grapevine the Hair Lounge said they’re going to beat us, but we said ‘oh heck no we’re going to beat them,’” said Pam Walsh, front counter supervisor at the Registry.

She added the employees’ competitive nature is all for a good cause.

“Even if we weren’t bullied as kids, we all know someone who was,” said Walsh.

She said the Registry has raised an average of $250 a week, through sales for pink paper shirts and donations, and is aiming to raise between $750 to $1,000 by Feb. 26.

“We’re really going to amp up our sales in the last week to try to reach that,” she said.

Walsh said the walls of the Registry are covered in paper pink shirts with the names of donors displayed on each, adding it’s amazing to see the way the community has contributed.

At the Hair Lounge, owner Wendy Bates-Wiebe said “sales have been fantastic so far.”

As of press time, Bates-Wiebe said the salon has sold 231 paper pink shirts, but she’s adding a little extra motivation for her employees to raise more money and sell more paper shirts in the final week with an in-house competition.

“In the salon, whoever promotes selling the most paper pink shirts gets a prize at the end,” she said

She added she “definitely encourages selling as much as possible because 100 per cent of the proceeds goes back to the BGC.”

“It’s so fantastic. Everyone has been on board with this fundraiser because it’s bringing awareness to bullying and the story behind Pink Shirt Day,” she said, about how the national event was inspired by a group of high school students who organized a protest to support a boy who was being bullied for wearing pink.

“School is not easy to get through, let alone life, and this movement just lets people know that we’re watching and maybe it’ll encourage bullying to stop,” said Bates-Wiebe.

The BGC will be hosting its third-annual Pink Shirt Day rally on Feb. 26 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., at the club located at 200 East Lake Crescent. The event will include guest speakers from City council, Calgary Stampeders player Randy Chevrier and members of his Tackle Bullying initiative, a performance by Airdrie band Autumn Arson, and videos on bullying prevention. In addition to the paper pink shirts being sold across the city, BGC Executive Director Denissa Sanness said the club has taken pre-orders for 3,300 pink T-shirts for $10 each, with an additional 1,200 shirts to be sold this week.

The funds from the shirt sales also goes towards prevention-type programs and services at BGC.

“It’s overwhelming, in a good sense, to see the amount of support and it’s great to see the business community get behind the movement and get involved in eradicating bullying,” said Sanness.

Paper pink shirts can also be purchased at Home Hardware, Canadian Tire, Costa Vida, Drizzzles, Hairbenders, Here’s the Scoop, Good Earth, Anytime Fitness, Chopped Leaf, Simply for Life, Crossfit 403, Scotia Bank and Mezzanine Spa.

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