Is the antibullying message getting through to young people?
Judging by the quality of submissions to a recent United Way of the Lower Mainland Care to Change contest, it's reaching its target audience.
Scooping up third prize in the contest were Brookswood Secondary students Emma Mackie, Devon Caldwell, Emily Weldon and Jake Guy for Words Stick.
In it a young woman is covered in sticky notes with common slurs until others step forward to help remove the labels.
"As a young person I have seen more and more things to bring on awareness of bullying. I feel it is making a difference because more children and teens I find are speaking out against bullying now more then ever," Caldwell commented.
Their video, created through the schools Backstreet Studios, deals with bullycide, people taking their own lives because of the bullying they've encountered.
"We hope they see that bullying is a huge issue," Caldwell said when asked what she hopes others get out of seeing their work.
"With our video touching on the subject of bully-cide, we see the bullying impacts people in huge, life-changing ways."
They would like people to feel impacted by their video in a way to make a change and bring more awareness to their communities.
Bullying was the most prevalent topic addressed by youth in videos submitted to United Way, in fact, all three winning videos in the youth category focused on bullying.
This started out as a class assignment to create a public service announcement and was then entered in the contest.
"The contest requires a video based on either bullying, child poverty, and senior isolation," explained Caldwell. "We decided to go with bullying because we felt it was a good subject that should be talked about more.
The young people knew they were up against plenty of competition.
In all 192 adults and youth around the province submitted a total of 60 videos. They can be viewed at caretochange.ca.
"We were happy to know that our film impacted the judges enough to nominate us," she said.
Caldwell added that people need to voice their opposition to bullying because it happens on so many everyday situations and can't be considered acceptable.
"There has been a couple of incredible kids I have known personally who have left us way to early because of bullying," she noted. "It is a topic that should not be treated gently. It makes a huge impact on kids at such early ages and it really needs to stop. I feel with more awareness on topics such as 'bullycide' we will be showing how huge of an impact bullying affects the victims personally along with everyone around them."
For these four young people, their way of voicing their opposition was with their video project.
Caldwell said anyone can be part of anti-bullying efforts.
"People need to realize that they don't need to do something drastic to bring awareness or prevent bullying," she said.
"Things like wearing pink on anti-bully day or just being a friend to someone who has had a bad day could turn someone's day around and one more person you've made aware is one more person to spread that awareness."
TELL US WHAT THEY'VE WON.
Video makers Emma Mackie, Devon Caldwell, Emily Weldon and Jake Guy won a $300 Best Buy gift certificate and their video will be shown at the Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) as part of the 2013 ReelYouth Film Festival Tour.