Us­ing art to com­bat bul­ly­ing

The Compass - - PORTHTE -

the young con­test win­ners re­ceived cer­tifi­cates and a prize of $50.

The event was or­ga­nized by the lodge’s Outreach Com­mit­tee. Com­mit­tee mem­ber Wayne Ge­orge was touched by the ex­pres­sions of con­fi­dence on the kids’ faces as they re­ceived their awards.

“… And we’re also help­ing build con­fi­dence when it comes to friend­ship and anti-bul­ly­ing, the con­test’s main goal,” he re­marked.

“We cer­tainly had a pos­i­tive re­ac­tion from the schools par­tic­i­pat­ing and from the stu­dents and par­ents,” Cot­ter added.

Anti-bul­ly­ing aim

The con­test idea was con­ceived about four years ago, when the Outreach Com­mit­tee of Lodge Heart’s Con­tent vis­ited schools in its Trin­ity South Shore district.

“We in­ter­viewed each prin­ci­pal to see what we could en­gage the schools in, in a mean­ing­ful way,” ex­plained Kins­ley Welsh, Outreach Com­mit­tee chair. “And one sug­ges­tion was an anti bul­ly­ing poster cam­paign.”

The phi­los­o­phy be­hind the cam­paign, Welsh says, is to per­pet­u­ate friend­ship as op­posed to vi­o­lence.

“We ran a very suc­cess­ful con­test last year. We got a tremen­dous amount of help fi­nan­cially from the pro­vin­cial government. We also part­nered with a group called Com­mu­ni­ties Against Vi­o­lence, a provin­cially funded or­ga­ni­za­tion. They helped out fi­nan­cially and agreed to do the same thing this year. And we put some money in our­selves.”

Part of last year’s cam­paign was to have cal­en­dars printed for 2013 with pho­tos of stu­dents and their projects.

“The cost was in the vicin­ity of $4,000-$5,000 and was funded by the pro­vin­cial government, Com­mu­ni­ties Against Vi­o­lence and Ma­sonic Lodge Heart’s Con­tent,” said Cot­ter.

Schools were given 50-100 cal­en­dars each to use as they saw fit and Lodge mem­bers sold 100 them­selves to come up with the $1,000 re­quired as their part of the fi­nan­cial com­mit­ment to­wards the cam­paign.

Welsh said the com­mit­tee has re­ceived strong sup­port for the cam­paign and mem­bers have worked well to­gether on the project.

“We’ve had tremen­dous back­ing and sup­port by both masters of the lodge, Car­son Evely and Rex Cot­ter. It’s a team ef­fort and we feel we’re cre­at­ing a pos­i­tive im­age of the lodge,” he said.

A group of vol­un­teer per­form­ers, the Avalon Sleeveens, have al­ready come to of­fer their sup­port for next year’s con­test.

The group of per­form­ers from Dildo, who dress up in at­tire from the 50s and 60s and lip sync to tunes from that era, will hold a con­cert at Sheila NaGeira The­atre in Car­bon­ear April 19.

“They’ve raised about $60,000 for char­ity and they’re do­ing a show for us to fi­nance next year’s pro­gram,” Welsh said.

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