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Our Community: Anti-bullying effort in the pink

Mayfair Shopping Centre is pitching in to end bullying in Canada with an awareness campaign, beginning Wednesday and culminating on Feb. 24, Pink Shirt Day.

Mayfair Shopping Centre is pitching in to end bullying in Canada with an awareness campaign, beginning Wednesday and culminating on Feb. 24, Pink Shirt Day.
The initiative is in support of Shaw Communications’ Pink Shirt Promise, a national movement to end bullying.

At 10 a.m. on Wednesday, the shopping centre will unveil a Post-it Pink wall in the centre court. People will be invited to write a promise to help end bullying and post their positive message on the wall.

Mayfair Shopping Centre will donate $1 to the United Way of Greater Victoria (up to $5,000) for every promise posted on the wall from Feb. 17 to 24.
On Feb. 24, Pink Shirt Day, the shopping centre invites everyone to wear a pink shirt in support and take part in a group photo in centre court at 9:30 a.m.

Throughout the campaign, each promise made using the #PinkShirtPromise hashtag on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook will be eligible for a chance to win an ET Canada Experience. The prize includes flights for two to Toronto, two nights hotel accommodation and a $1,500 shopping spree at a participating Ivanhoe Cambridge shopping centre, which includes Mayfair.

“By taking part in Pink Shirt Day and raising awareness through the #PinkShirtPromise campaign, Mayfair Shopping Centre is actively promoting kindness, generosity and acceptance,” said Laura Poland, general manager of the shopping centre. “At Mayfair, we always search for new and better ways to actively support causes that can make a difference in the community.”

Bullying, whether online, at school or at work, affects people of all age groups, backgrounds, and genders. According to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, 40 per cent of Canadian workers experience bullying on a weekly basis and 47 per cent of Canadian parents report their children as victims of bullying.

Pink Shirt Day and #PinkShirtPromise were created by Shaw Communications, to support the bullying-prevention movement in Canada aligned with Pink Shirt Day. For more information, go to or

Take off your clothes for a good cause

Take part in Canada’s most memorable fundraiser — or just watch — as up to 160 people doff their clothes and jump off a bridge at the Naked Bungy Jump, Saturday and Sunday.

The perennial sell-out event started a decade ago, when the first group of people removed their fear — and every stitch of their clothing — to hurl themselves off a bridge in support of the B.C. Schizophrenia Society.

In the past 10 years, more than 1,500 adults have taken the 46-metre plunge off the bridge, raising almost $117,000 to fund programs and support an estimated 23,000 people suffering from the disease.

Event organizer Hazel Meredith, knows that the idea of naked bungee jumping seems shocking.

“And that’s the point,” said Meridith, who is also the executive director of the society. “Mental illness is a shocking experience that forces people to face the unknown. Our event expresses that feeling of teetering on the edge of something uncertain, and the internal struggle to move forward or turn back. The Naked Bungy Jump event is meant to show that people can build their confidence by taking the next step forward.”

The cost to participate is $55 (pre-booked) to jump naked, or $129.99 to jump clothed. Registration is limited to 160 participants, 18 or older. Participants who collect and turn in pledges of $200 or more (before taking the plunge) have the option to jump for free.

Participants travelling from Victoria can book a spot on the Stigma Roller bus, which will take them to and from the event on Sunday. They need to first book an available jump time slot between noon and 3 p.m. before they request a space on the bus. People can also book spots for any spectators going to cheer them on. Personal photography is not allowed; participants will receive an official photo for free.

To catch the bus, meet at 9:45 a.m. at the University of Victoria bookstore. It will return to UVic by 4:30 p.m. To book, email

Spectators (18 or older) are welcome to cheer on the brave and the bare participants for a $15 donation at the gate. Jumps start at 10 a.m. and end at sunset on both days at WildPlay Element Parks, 35 Nanaimo River Rd., Nanaimo. Organizers have set a goal of raising $30,000. Donations are accepted at For more information, go to or call 1-855-595-2251.

Program helps men learn to make friends

Are you a man who finds it difficult to make close new friends? A new program, starting Monday, can help.

Tools for Building Friendship is an eight-week group session for men offered by Victoria-based Citizens’ Counselling Centre.

The program is designed to help men discover the benefits of friendship, see how other men handle it and learn practical new skills. Men typically struggle with intimate friendship more than women, often experiencing isolation, anxiety or depression.

There can be several reasons that same-sex friendships have decreased:

• When some men become adults, they haven’t learned the skills necessary to form friendships with men.

• Other men are beginning to find online friendships unfulfilling and want to learn how to have offline friends.

• Some men have let their friendships fade away as they form primary relationships, raise children or focus on careers.

• Most men have been socialized to be strong, self-sufficient and unemotional, which can make it seem weak and unmanly to seek friendships.

• As some men age, they find themselves alone and have forgotten how to reach out in friendship.

The program explores why friendship is difficult for men and works toward finding solutions, through group and one-on-one activities.

Participation is limited to 12 men. A pre-group interview is required. Fees are on a sliding scale based on family income. A $15 deposit is required to secure a spot in the group.

The group meets from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Monday evenings, Feb. 15 to April 11 at the centre, 941 Kings Rd. To register, call Citizens’ Counselling Centre, 250-384-9934. For more information, go to

Local Love loves local food

Get ready for an evening of Local Love, a celebration supporting local farmers, food producers, musicians and artists, on Saturday.

This is the third year of the annual fundraiser, hosted by the Oaklands Community Association in support of the Oaklands Sunset Market series. The market seeks to promote food security, build a vibrant community and keep our farmers’ markets accessible to all. Proceeds go toward food literacy activities for children and youth, as well as maximizing community outreach through advertising outlets.

The event includes appetizers by Northern Quarter, beer from Hoyne Brewing Company, hot mulled wassail from Sea Cider Farm and Ciderhouse, and live music from the New Groovement and Chance Lovett & the Broken Hearted.

Admission is $20. The event runs 7 to 11:30 p.m. at the Atrium, 1321 Blanshard St. Tickets are available on Eventbrite, by phone 250-370-9101, or in person at the Oaklands Community Centre, 1-2827 Belmont Ave.

For more information, go to

Vision problems can undermine success

A vision specialist from Ontario will join a local optometrist in a series of presentations to build awareness on Binocular Vision Dysfunction and the impact on reading and learning, starting Thursday, Feb. 25.

The series is hosted by the Visual Process Society, a registered charity dedicated to raising awareness of the link between vision and academic potential.  
The society stresses to parents that most vision screening exams check acuity, but typically do not include a check on eye focusing, tracking or co-ordination — skills necessary in reading and learning development.

The three events include:

Why vision for learning is more than 20/20: Anita Murray-Hill, executive director of the society, and Linda Lemon, a vision specialist with the Waterloo Region District School Board, will talk about binocular-vision concerns in the educational setting. The event, which is free, starts at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Oak Bay branch of the library, 1442 Monterey Ave. To register, call 250-940-4875.    

Tapestry Conference: Linda Lemon will cover what binocular vision is, how a dysfunction can affect reading and learning, and tips on how to pick up on these issues in the classroom. The cost for parents is $75, teachers $50, student teachers $25. The workshop runs 12:45 to 2:30 p.m. Friday at Esquimalt High School, 847 Colville Rd. Register at

More than just 20/20 vision: Local optometrist Cameron McCrodan will discuss the links among learning disability, eye focusing, tracking and co-ordination. The lecture fee is $55 and the event runs 7 to 9 p.m., Feb. 25 at the University of Victoria. Register at More-Than-Just-2020-Vision/ HPHE263. For more information, go to

 Youth learn to make a positive change 

Join youth interested in making positive change in the world at the Social Justice Youth Conference on Saturday.

Hosted by the Didi Society, the conference is an opportunity for youth, Grades 7 to 12, to gain concrete skills and tools that will allow them to take action to make positive change in their community and the world. The conference will be facilitated by youth who are completing the Didi Society’s Social Justice Youth Leadership certification training. The facilitators will provide workshops on gender equality, sustainable development, human rights and ethical trade.

Free lunch and snacks are provided.

The Didi Society is a Victoria-based non-profit organization that partners with women’s co-operatives in India and Guatemala to market their handmade products.

Admission is free, but registration is required. The conference runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Central Middle School, 1280 Fort St. For more information, go to

 Take your dog to a Valentine party 

A reminder: The Valentine Dog Party takes place today. Dress up your pet (or yourself) for an afternoon of fun activities with trainers and treats. Proceeds benefit the Victoria Pet Food Bank. The event runs 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Clover Point off Dallas Road. For more information, go to

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