TORONTO - On Wednesday, February 27, Toronto Argonauts OG Joe Eppele, as part of the team’s Huddle Up Bullying Prevention Program, presented by Tim Hortons, will wear a pink shirt in support of bullying prevention efforts across North America.
In its 12th year, Huddle Up has used the personal stories of Toronto Argonauts football players, cheerleaders and staff to encourage friendship and inclusion, and reduce or eradicate bullying. Tomorrow, Eppele and the Argonauts will visit Milliken Mills High School in Markham, Ontario and wear a pink shirt during two Huddle Up student assemblies. In its fifth year, “Pink Shirt Day” works to mobilize students and adults to wear pink in a show of solidarity for bullying prevention efforts.
Five years ago, Travis Price, then a grade 12 student in Nova Scotia, stood up for a grade 9 student who was targeted and bullied for wearing a pink t-shirt on his first day of school. Price and his classmate David Shepherd decided to purchase 50 pink shirts to wear to school the next day. When other classmates joined in, they realized that bullying only has power if no one stands up against it, and so a movement was born. In 2012, 6.4 million people took part in Pink Shirt Day.
In 2013, the Huddle Up program will again reach more than 35,000 students, and 700 of their parents, with an impactful message that was developed in conjunction with the Canadian Safe School Network. Since 2001, Huddle Up has reached close to 300,000 students across the G.T.A. ranging in age from 8-18. In 2009, the Huddle Up program became recognized on the Ministry of Education’s Registry of Bullying Prevention Programs. The Argonauts are the only Canadian sports team to have a program registered.