By: Adam D’Angelo
Teasing, abusive language, hitting, spreading rumours, or embarrassing someone in public are all aggressive forms of bullying. You, or someone you know, could be impacted by bullying right now. It happens every day in our community, across the country, and the world. The University of Windsor’s men’s hockey team is standing up to bullying, sticking up for those who feel scared, and educating the youth in Windsor to prevent bullying.
Lancers Against Bullying is a campaign that features player presentations at elementary schools within the local community to teach kids about the harmful implications of bullying and educating them on how to be positive role models.
“We travel to a variety of elementary schools around Windsor and Essex County,” Alternate Captain, Kyle Hope said. “We talk with students in grades 6-8, whether it be a smaller presentation held in classes or a mass presentations to multiple grades in the gymnasium.”
“I think initiatives like this can help mould better leaders in the locker-room, within the team, and in their lives moving forward,” Assistant Coach, Kyle Makaric said. “Having them in front of people and speaking is a great experience and some players will find a voice they may have never known they had.”
Building positive leaders of the future is essential to mankind. Raising awareness in campaigns like this will help lead the way. Athletes have a unique presence of power over the youth, therefore, it’s important to convey messages that are meaningful and relatable.
“Lancers against bullying is a very important aspect that our team contributes to. I believe as Lancers we have a responsibility to the community to do our reach programs like this to help the next generation of kids realize the impact bullying has,” Brennan Feasey said. He and rookie Jake Brown gave a recent presentation.
Campaigns like this are important because bullying is a prominent issue, and with advancements in technology comes the impact of cyber-bullying. Kids have greater access to networking with their peers and often times it is being used for negative reasons.
“It’s important to me to help kids at a young age learn the negative effects bullying can have on someone personally, their school and their community,” Hope reflected.
As the Lancers walk the hallways and enter the gymnasium to give their presentation, they feel empowered as leaders and ambassadors of the university.
“We feel by our presence as hockey players, our message is more impactful and it registers more with the kids, compared to their teacher’s telling them,” Feasey said.
These student-athletes are the role models this community needs to fight against causes like bullying. The youth look up to local athletes because they want to be like them, they think highly of them, therefore, when they give presentations they must ensure they are confident and serious.
“The people presenting have to show a strong relationship with one another, or the kids will be able to see right through you. If you don’t show your teammates respect or the teachers at the school, it will set the wrong impression for the kids, Feasey mentioned.” “In the end, I feel like it does create a closer culture within our team.”
According to the census, one-in-three adolescent students in Canada reported being bullied. The need for campaigns like this is crucial to helping reduce that statistic.
“As a coach, I am thrilled to see our guys out in the community and taking part in programs like Lancers against bullying. Using this platform to shed light on a great cause like preventing bullying will give the players a sense of accomplishment and pride knowing they are out making a difference in the community,” Makaric said.
Lancers against bullying will hopefully transition into more varsity teams taking the initiative to spread awareness and reduce the effects of bullying.
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