“I have always been motivated to make a change on subjects such as discrimination and stigma, but I have never really taken a large stand. I do stand up for others if i see bullying taking place, but I still haven’t organized anything in my school to encourage diversity and acceptance of one another. After attending this conference, I feel confident that I will be able to do something in my school to make a change, and act out against hate”
– Peer Leaders Forum, Fall 2009 GTA participant.
Bridle Bash V, August 3rd, 2013
featured the iconic Canadian band
The Tragically Hip
Thank you to our Friends at the Bridle Bash Foundation!
The Canadian Centre for Diversity would like to extend a BIG THANK YOU to our friends at the Bridle Bash Foundation. Also, we would like to thank all the supporters of this year’s Bridle Bash V fundraising event.
Saturday, August 3rd, 2013 hosted a great evening of music and entertainment with funds raised going to support the Canadian Centre for Diversity and other local Toronto charities.
Watch the 2013 BBV Event Video here:
The Bridle Bash Foundation (BBF) is dedicated to providing financial support to charities. The Foundation is made up entirely of volunteers who manage the day-to-day administration; there are no salaried positions, no overhead, and all legal and accounting services are provided at no cost. To date they have raised over 5 million dollars. With a focus on philanthropy, fun, participation and inclusion, BBF shares a commitment to strengthening our community through charity and education.
At the Canadian Centre for Diversity, we are proud to celebrate the annual World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, launched by UNESCO and the UN Alliance of Civilizations. This year’s campaign theme is all about action – a word at the heart of the Canadian Centre of Diversity. We encourage community members to take action, in the name of diversity, every day.
Raising awareness and having important inclusion-themed dialogues is a major aim of our community engagement and experiential education. In the last three months, we’ve facilitated two Peer Leaders Forums, in Toronto and Halifax, bringing together over 200 students for a full-day of conversation and planning that will lead to real change in their schools and communities.
We know that action requires consistency and planning. In order to build a society free of stigma and stereotyping, a society that harmonizes rather than polarizes, we educate student leaders on a regular basis through the Peer Leaders Network. Over 42 high schools rely on these workshops, and we’ve recently expanded to meet the needs of Winnipeg and North Bay locations.
Like UNESCO, we see change as something that happens through connectivity. That’s why we continue to align ourselves with community leaders and educators for our Peer Leaders Diversity Outings and Teaching Peers to Lead sessions. These mutually beneficial relationships facilitate meaningful dialogues about how to make the future hopeful for everyone. Beyond this, it gives us an opportunity to equip leaders with skills to make change, thus multiplying positive actions in our society.
Let today’s UNESCO celebration of diversity remind us that we can all take action in our lives to help others.
Linda J. Dawson
Chief Executive Officer
More than 200 students in Toronto and Halifax participated in Peer Leaders Forums this spring. Exploring the theme Being an Ally: Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges, Peer Leaders from 10 high schools in Ontario, 6 in Nova Scotia, and 2 in New Brunswick attended the forums to connect with community members, meet with other student leaders, and collaborate on school-wide initiatives to promote the value of diversity, difference, and inclusion.
In Halifax, the Honourable Ramona Jennex, Nova Scotia Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development, greeted the attendees with opening remarks that emphasized the importance of student leadership and initiatives that foster safe and inclusive learning environments. In Toronto, the Director of the Inclusive Education Branch of the Ontario Ministry of Education, Ruth Flynn, opened the Forum by highlighting the need for inclusive and accepting schools for Ontario students and encouraged attendees to continue to play leadership roles in building positive school climates.
Both Forums featured a moderated panel discussion focused on exploring the impact of anti-diversity behaviours, such as discrimination, exclusion and bullying, and the value of embracing diversity, difference and inclusion to create supportive and accepting environments for teaching and learning.
In the afternoon, students took part in an innovative diversity and inclusion simulation that demonstrated the dangers of social exclusion, labels, and prejudice, and helped them to recognize the value of establishing inclusive and accepting spaces in their schools and communities.
View photos of the Toronto Forum here.
By Kimberly Ann Blacker, Teacher Champion, Peer Leaders Network, St. Joseph-Scollard Hall, North Bay, Ontario, Canada
Last month, the Canadian Centre for Diversity hosted two regional Peer Leaders Forums, in Toronto and Halifax. After attending the Toronto Peer Leaders Forum, one of our teacher champions wrote the following reflection:
I cannot begin to even put into the words how enlightened I feel right now. I spent a full day with my students at the Peer Leaders Forum in Toronto yesterday and it was fantastic! We started the day with the students doing a few icebreaker activities to get them engaged. It was so amazing seeing them working together as a collective group. After the activity, we had the opportunity to hear some opening remarks from Konrad Glogowski, Director of Programs at the Canadian Centre for Diversity. One of the main points he raised that struck me was that 288,000 students reported being bullied in Ontario schools. That factors out to 28.6%. “What do we lose when 28.6% do not want to be school?” WOW!…
…The one thing I will take away from this is a deeper understanding of my own students. I watched my group grow and evolve. It was amazing. Before this trip, a number of the students barely knew each other. While on the trip, they really bonded with each other and became friends. It was great to see them exchanging numbers with students from other schools and networking. I truly believe that the Peer Leaders Network is the best program that Ontario has to offer our young people and I feel truly privileged to be a part of it.
Read more here.
The Black Cultural Centre of Halifax hosted a celebration of Black History Month that brought together students, regional police and community members for an exploration of Canada’s diverse history.
As a way to connect teens and adults in the community, the Black Cultural Centre brought together Halifax Regional Police and the RCMP, in conjunction with Graham Creighton Junior High and the Canadian Centre for Diversity to take part in fun and engaging activities to investigate Canada’s rich and diverse past. Amanda Reddick, our Nova Scotia Program Manager, helped to organize a fun scavenger hunt for the students.
Read all about it in the Dartmouth Snap here.
On April 10, The Canadian Centre for Diversity supported the Day of Pink: International Day to End Bullying.
Many of our students in the Peer Leaders Network organized and participated in School-Wide Initiatives to support the International Day to End Bullying:
• Students at Vincent Massey Collegiate in Winnipeg made and distributed posters encouraging students to share messages of anti-bullying and wear pink shirts on April 10th;
• St. John’s High School in Winnipeg planned a Diversity Week, a school-wide celebration of diversity beginning on April 8th. With a variety of activities that focused on anti-bullying solutions, they planned fun events, such as a charity basketball tournament, vows of silence and a multicultural celebration all in support of diversity.
Read more at Peerleaders.ca
STOP A BULLY is a national non-profit organization and Canada-wide anti-bullying program which allows any student who is a victim or witness of bullying and cyberbullying to be able to safely report the details to school officials. STOP A BULLY is committed to providing any student, parent or educator opportunity to report bullying and cyberbullying in a safe and anonymous manner by giving them an effective online reporting system.
The Peer Leaders Network collaborated with STOP A BULLY at our Halifax Peer Leaders Forum. We handed out over 100 pink wristbands to all our students from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to help raise awareness of anti-bullying strategies and resources.
Learn more about how to combat bullying here.
The Peer Leaders Network competed against 200 non-profit causes across Canada and the United States during the month of April in the State Farm Neighbourhood Assist Competition on Facebook. Over 3000 causes were submitted to the competition and the Peer Leaders Network was chosen to be in the top 200.
Throughout the competition, we were overwhelmed by the community support. We would like to thank all of you for the thousands of votes we received!
The Canadian Centre for Diversity is competing in the State Farm Neighborhood Assist Competition. Between April 4 and April 22, anyone with a Facebook account can cast votes for their chosen cause.
Over 3,000 causes were submitted to the competition and the Peer Leaders Network was chosen as one of the top 200 finalists. The 40 causes with the most votes will win $25, 000. These funds will enable us to expand our youth leadership program, Peer Leaders Network, to one priority school high school in the Greater Toronto Area.
The Peer Leaders Network is recognized by provincial Ministries of Education across Canada as part of the preventative education solution to support high schools in taking action against bullying. Our program is not reactive to isolated acts of bullying. Our focus is proactive education that eliminates prejudice and discrimination by offering students life-long leadership skills so they can drive social change and end bullying in their schools and communities.
As you know, prejudice and discrimination are pervasive in Canadian schools, often resulting in direct acts of bullying. According to research, 72% of bullies are in grades 8-12; the second most likely place for assaults to occur is in or close to schools; and bullycides are increasing. Our Peer Leaders Network program helps reduce incidents of bullying and discrimination by helping to build safer, more accepting and inclusive school environments.
WE NEED YOUR VOTES to help us expand the Peer Leaders Network!
WHAT YOU CAN DO: LEARN, SHARE, VOTE
Learn more about the Peer Leaders Network and how this program empowers young Canadians with leadership skills to end discrimination, prejudice and bullying. Visit: http://centrefordiversity.ca/what-we-do
Share this contest with friends, family and colleagues. Tell them how you are helping to end bullying in Canadian high schools by supporting and voting for the Peer Leaders Network.
Share the contest on your Facebook timeline and add our Facebook banner to your personal page to proudly tell friends that you have voted for the Peer Leaders Network. Invite your friends to do the same.
YOU CAN VOTE 10 TIMES PER DAY, EVERYDAY on Facebook, at the State Farm Neighborhood Assist Page here: https://www.state-assist.com/cause/2421/peer-leaders-network
Beginning April 4 until April 22, anyone with a Facebook account is eligible to vote for a cause. Each person is given 10 votes per day. These votes can be used all on one cause, or spread out in any way among multiple causes. Users can come back each day to distribute their 10 votes. At the end of each day, any remaining unused votes are lost.
We ask you to please vote today and every day and encourage others to vote as well!
Your support and action, combined with the actions of like-minded Canadians from coast to coast, will make the difference in expanding our leadership program to our 42nd high school.
I am delighted to reach out to you in my new role as Board Chair to provide you with some updates. The Peer Leaders Network is now in 40 schools across Canada! Expanding our programs to more students in more locations, gives them the opportunity to participate and explore issues of diversity and promote inclusion in their schools. This is important work. Students who complete the program become inspirational leaders who continue their commitment to diversity and inclusion throughout their post-secondary studies and professional careers, thus helping to build a Canadian society without prejudice and discrimination. It is a bold vision, and we are committed to making it happen.
We are expanding our social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Tumblr, and are thrilled to launch our new blog, Peerleaders.ca. Each of these communication vehicles highlights our important social mission focusing on youth, leadership and diversity. Please connect with us and become part of the conversation that is helping Canadians to See Different.
Thank you to my predecessor, Linda McCain, for her contribution as Chair over the past three years. I look forward to following her exemplary leadership and commitment to promoting safe, inclusive and accepting spaces for young Canadians.
Please forward this newsletter to your networks to help us reach like-minded individuals who are passionate about educating Canadians about the value of diversity, difference and inclusion.
Chair, Board of Directors