Travis Price, one of the founders of Pink Day, stopped to speak to Grade 7-9 students at local schools about bullying.
Students from Mother Teresa and Fox Run Schools were told personal stories about bullying effected Price throughout his school days and how he coped with it as part of the Red Cross’ Beyond the Hurt program.
“In those days we didn’t have bullying prevention programs like there is now,” he explain. “Once a year we would have n RCMP officer come in and tell us bullying is bad.”
Price said even though he was bullied, and thought of himself as an angry kid, he found a support system in a few close friends whom he could talk.
He also said talking to his parents helped. Not because they could actually help what was happening, but because they wanted to help and they tried to.
“No one will know what is going on, that you need help unless you tell someone, unless you ask for help,” Price said.
He spoke to the students about finding what makes you happy, as it makes the hard times in life more bearable.
For himself, it was music, sports and video games. Music, he said played a particularly large role in his life – and continues to do so – as he connects with the rhythm and lyrics of a song.
The one of the songs he connected to was by Rob Thomas called “Little Wonders”.
“Let it slide / Let your troubles fall behind you / Let it shine / Until you feel it all around you / And I don’t mind / If it’s me you need to turn to / We’ll get by / It’s the heart that really matters in the end.”
“It was these lyrics that stuck with me. I knew I would get by, I would make it through what was happening,” Price said of the song released in 2007.
While playing sports or listening to music helped, he said what really made the days better was hope.
He told the students his story of how he found hope when he wasn’t sure there was any. He had just started at a new school and the bullying started half-way through the first day.
But that changed when one person helped, and stood up to the bullies.
“I’ve always liked superheroes, with Batman being my favourite. But the part about Batman that stuck with me was the batsignal, the beacon of hope for everyone who lived in Gotham,” said Price. “She became my batsignal, my beacon of hope.”
A few years later, Price was in Grade 12 and saw a new Grade 9 student being picked on and bullied simply for wearing a pink shirt. That day he didn’t do anything to help, but said the thought ate at him throughout the school day.
After school he and his friend David Sheppard tossed around ideas on how to help the kid feel like he belonged and said he wasn’t alone. Finally they came up with the idea idea of Pink Day, and spread word around through Facebook and bought up any pink item they could find.
In a school of roughly 1,000 students, they were hoping maybe 100 students would wear pink. By the end nearly 850 students came to school the very next day wearing something pink.
“Everyone of them knew what it felt like to be picked on to be bullied, and said nothing, because they didn’t know how. Wearing pink was an easy way to show support,” said Price.
By then end of the year schools across Canada were participating in their own Pink Day, and the duo who started it was getting international recognition – even receiving a call from Ellen DeGeneres.
Ten years later Pink Day is recognized in schools and communities across the world, and Price says it all started because of one small action.
“We didn’t do it to be famous or to get recognition. We did it to help that one kid, to be his beacon of hope,” said Price.
Price finished his presentation with a quote by Edward Everett Hale; “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.”