Green­tree stu­dents learn to be Big­ger Than That

The Drumheller Mail - - AROUND TOWN - Pa­trick Ko­lafa The Drumheller Mail

Stu­dents at Green­tree School had a spe­cial per­for­mance last Thurs­day, Fe­bru­ary 9, to shed light on bul­ly­ing.

Coun­try mu­sic artist Ryan Laird was at the school to per­form and to de­liver a spe­cial mes­sage on bul­ly­ing preven­tion and youth em­pow­er­ment.

‘It went re­ally well, the kids were re­ally en­thu­si­as­tic,” he said. ‘ We had a re­ally good time.”

While there are many pro­grams that de­liver th­ese im­por­tant mes­sages, the in­spi­ra­tion for this per­for­mance come from Laird him­self. As a young­ster pur­su­ing his dream of be­com­ing a coun­try star, he found him­self be­ing bul­lied in school.

“It stuck with me through the years be­cause I was a re­ally shy kid and didn’t know what to do about it at the time,” he ex­plains. “Later when I be­came a coun­try mu­sic artist, a few years ago, I was ap­proached by my youth coun­cil­lor at school. She asked me to come in and talk to the kids about what has hap­pened in my life and how I over­came those bar­ri­ers to make my dream come true.”

It evolved into the Big­ger Than That tour. In the last few years, he has been in front of more than 400,000 youth across Canada.

“It is very re­ward­ing in many ways but prob­a­bly most re­ward­ing is to hear the feed­back from not only stu­dents, but the par- ents af­ter­ward on so­cial me­dia, say­ing their son or daugh­ter felt mo­ti­vated from it and want to chase af­ter a goal they have in their life,” he said.

“Also with some of the more se­ri­ous ones, where kids are get­ting picked on, for them not to get down on them­selves, and they will re­mem­ber to see the pos­i­tiv­ity.” The tour con­tin­ues through­out Al­berta. “We have 33 shows over the next month or so. We are go­ing all over the prov­ince try­ing to spread the word,” he said.

More can be learned at www.big­gerthanthat.org.

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