By Akasha Di Tomasso
On Day Four of training camp, the Raptors Basketball Development and Community staff, along with alumni Jerome “JYD” Williams, ascended upon Fairview Junior High School. Their goal? To ensure the 350 students in the attendance heard about the importance of having a school environment free from bullying.
“Kids save kids and every one of the kids here at Fairview can be the catalyst of change. It’s time for all of them to speak up – and being part of a team [just like the Raptors] is a great way to model good, healthy relationships”, said Kathleen Richard, Nova Scotia’s first Anti-Bullying Coordinator.
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The visit, in partnership with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (EECD), aimed to teach the grade 7 to 9 students about how leadership and building positive relationships can lead to success.
JYD explained to the students, “I was bullied in high school – and while it hurt, I tried not to let it affect me. Every one of you is perfect in your own right, just for being who you are. We need to respect each other’s differences”.
The Toronto Raptors commend the province of Nova Scotia for all the work they are doing in the fight against bullying and thank them for setting the tone for the rest of Canada.
Faculty and students watched the Raptors “Be Bold: Stop Bullying” video featuring current players Jonas Valančiūnas, Kyle Lowry, Demar DeRozan, head coach Dwane Casey, and alumni Jamaal Magloire. The video helped reinforce the key objective of the visit – to create a school environment free from exclusion, harassment and bullying.