Felicity Gould

Anti-bullying message hits the road

Six-year-old creates sign in Montrose for Pink Shirt Day

Six-year-old Felicity Gould has joined the call to end bullying across Canada on Pink Shirt Day.

In Montrose, Highway 3B is lined with brightly decorated signs reminding drivers and pedestrians to treat everyone with respect and equality.

One of those signs was made by Gould who worked with her grandparents to get the message of anti-bullying to everyone passing the corner of 7th St. and 10th Ave.

Her sign reads, “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.” Gould is also wearing her her pink shirt in support of Pink Shirt Day, today – a national campaign against bullying at school, at work, at home and on the Internet.

Gould says if she saw someone being a bully at school, she would tell them to, “Stop. Bullying is bad.”

Her grandfather, Mel Berkidal, helped make the sign and says the message it shares is one that he taught to his kids, and now, it is time to pass it along to the grandkids.

“Bullying is an ugly thing,” he said, adding that everyone has experienced it at some point in their lives. “When my girls were young, we drilled it into their heads to treat everyone the same.”

Gould’s sign is just one of many put along the roadside by the Greater Trail Area chapter of I Am That Girl, an international group trying to curb bullying between girls.

Local chapter co-chair Danielle Beattie was pleasantly surprised to find out that Gould had made a sign to add to the collection.

“That just blows my mind,” she said, adding that the more participation, the stronger the message. “Sometimes it comes down to just one person stepping up and saying one nice thing to someone. It is crazy how much that can move things forward. With the signs, we had some people come to us and say, ‘I saw your sign today, so I paid for someone else’s coffee this morning’. We just want to see it expand.”

The signs first came about for Random Acts Of Kindness Day last week, but today, they take on new meaning with the Pink Shirt Day campaign.

“It was (Random Acts of Kindness Day) on the 17th, so we were just trying to think of something we could do for that,” said Beattie. “We were planning on doing the signs already and (today) is anti-bullying day, so it fits.”

The Trail group of I Am That Girl meets every couple of months and provides a safe space for women and girls to talk about the different struggles they face day-to-day that may be too taboo for a family dinner discussion.

“In our meetings, girls just come together and we chat about things in the world that we don’t normally get to chat about,” said Beattie. “A lot of the time, it ends up being about important topics like postpartum depression. We have a few girls that have been pregnant and have gone through that and they never got to talk about it. We talk about things that don’t come up often and it is crazy the amount of support we get from each other.”

To get more information about the local chapter meetings or to find out how to join, visit www.facebook.com/iatg.gta.

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