Pink Shirt Day luncheon raises over $45,000 for anti-bullying programs in B.C.

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Feb 20 2015_PSDLL_0259

How can the colour pink help put a stop to bullying? The truth is, it can’t. But wearing a pink shirt on February 25 does two things: it sends a message to bullies that you, the wearer of the colour, are an advocate for change, that you are aware, and that you are involved in the movement to end victimization. It also sends a message of strength and hope to those being bullied that it’s okay to speak up, and it’s time to speak out.

Bullying is bad, but bullies aren’t. This is the powerful message behind Pink Shirt Day that is addressing what causes people to bully, in order to change the behaviour. Without the bullies on board, the movement will sink, and that’s why the message isn’t “us against them,” but instead, “it’s all of us, together.”

Sixty-four per cent of Canadian children have been bullied at school at some point, according to the Pink Shirt Day campaign, and 40 per cent of Canadian employees are bullied at the workplace on a weekly basis, but the cycle can be broken.

The Pink Shirt Day Ladies Luncheon raised over $45,000 for anti-bullying programs in B.C.

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The CKNW Orphans’ Fund held their 4th annual event at Blue Water Café in Vancouver on Friday, February 20. The event attracted over 170 women of all ages and industries, from socialites, philanthropists, lawyers and media moguls, with a common goal in mind: to raise money for anti-bullying initiatives and to cause a social media storm that sends the message loud and clear: we see you.

If you are a bully, we see you, we want to better understand you, and we need your help to make the change.

If you are being bullied, we see you, we support you and we are united in taking away the fear and pain.

Using the hashtag #PinkItForward, women turned the internet positive by passing on a message of love and kindness to anyone, anywhere. Every time someone uses the hashtag, Coast Capital will donate $1 to Pink Shirt Day.

The afternoon was all pink everything – from pink cookies decorated with “You CAN sit with us,” and “be a nice human,” to complimentary cupcakes and pink table décor.

Ladies buzzed through the silent auction room, bidding on packages worth up to $10,000, including high-end gift bags, spa treatments, getaways, wine – including an exquisite bottle of red burgundy wine from Clos De La Roche Grand Cru, donated by Frank Giustra – and a very popular Tory Burch bag.

The live auction was hosted by the enthusiastic and hilarious Fred Lee. He kept the room laughing, when the battle to the final bids flew upwards of $4,000 for exclusive offerings, from Holt Renfrew to local dining experiences.

Fred Lee, host of live auction, gets the crowd bidding high

Fred Lee, host of live auction, gets the crowd bidding high

Guests were treated to a delicious three-course meal of golden beet and goat cheese terrine or roasted red kuri squash soup. The main was a choice between grilled Oceanwise Kuterra salmon with edamame and orange kubayaki or organic Bradner Farms chicken wrapped in prosciutto. Fitting for the occasion, dessert was a “Pink” tagliatelle with zucchini, broccoli, arugula, pine nuts and parmegiano.

The highly successful “Wall of Wine” sold out within the first hour – where donations of $25 were made for a mystery bottle of equal or higher value.

The event would not have been possible without the dedication of Jen Schaeffers, Founder of NetworkinginVan.com and Executive Director of the CKNW Orphans’ Fund. Although her work spoke volumes, she finally took the mic at the end of the night to applause.

Event organizer and superwoman, Jen Schaeffers

Event organizer and superwoman, Jen Schaeffers

“My daughter asked me, ‘Mommy, am I pretty?’” she began, as she shared a story about teaching her child about inner beauty and the value of being a good person.

“Let your heart shine, and that beauty will come from the inside, out.”

Talk-show host extraordinaire, Fiona Forbes and radio royalty, Karen Khunkhun hosted the afternoon and managed to tame the gaggle of women when necessary. Without them nothing would have gotten done past the first cocktail.

Hosts, Fiona and Karen

Hosts, Fiona and Karen

I spoke with Karen before the event about Pink Shirt Day and its message:

Pink Shirt Day is one day of the year where bullying is recognized on a large scale, but what do people have to do all the other days to help diminish or eliminate it?

I think the one thing we can do to take a stand against bullying all year long is: Speak up!

Don’t be a bystander and let it be known that you will not tolerate bullying. Whether is it online or in person we all have the ability to take a stand against bullying. Go to the source and see why the person is choosing to be a bully, sometimes people don’t even realize how hurtful their words or actions can be.

Do you recall a time in your life where you had to stand up for who you are or defend yourself? Much like those who get bullied every day have to do? 

Thankfully, I was never bullied in school. I had an elementary school and a high school teacher that I can credit for being huge anti-bullying advocates. They ingrained those positives values into our classes and for that I am thankful.

However, I had two situations in my early professional career that I am sorry to say that I didn’t stand up to. I felt powerless and let it continue. I guess at the time I didn’t think that I had the “right” to speak up since the women were in senior positions . I would never let that happen again. Your voice matters and it is always important to stand up for what is right.

Bullying as a behaviour is bad, but bullies aren’t. Why is this message important for people to remember? 

I think it is very important to remember that bullies are often acting out of pain and insecurity stemming from their own personal issues. It’s not about the person that they are bullying, it is all about them, when you remember that you really take the power away from the bully and empower yourself.


Pink Shirt Day was started in Nova Scotia by two teenage boys who, after seeing another male student bullied for wearing a pink shirt, decided to distribute pink shirts to classmates to wear at school. CKNW was inspired by their action, and since 2007 has raised over $830,000 for anti-bullying programs in B.C. through the sale of their pink shirts.

Each story that is shared can make a change and help loosen the chains that bind bullies to their behaviour. On February 25, wear pink to stand up against bullying and help create a world where everyone is free to be as they are without fear.

A huge thank you to all the sponsors of the Pink Shirt Day Luncheon. Pink Shirt Day T-Shirts are available now in London Drugs locations.

For more information about Pink Shirt Day, visit www.pinkshirtday.ca.

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Nicolle Hodges Journalist/Reporter for VancityBuzz, Editor of @Valley_Buzz, Freelance Journalist Black Press and CTV Vancouver Promotions Host. Follow my journey on Instagram: @nicolledoubleL
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