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VFC players visiting Langley school to spread kindness on Pink Shirt Day

‘Nobody is lesser for their differences,’ says Alex Hope Elementary student
Vancouver FC players will visit Alex Hope Elementary to read to students for Pink Shirt Day. (Kyler Emerson/Langley Advance Times)

For Grade 7 student Devereau, Pink Shirt Day means celebrating people’s differences and the importance of being yourself.

“You should appreciate everybody. Diversity is knowing that we’re all different, and it’s okay to be unique and different – nobody is lesser for their differences,” she told the Langley Advance Times.

Her school, Alex Hope Elementary, acknowledges Pink Shirt Day each year, said principal Nathan Erker.

“We hope elementary school is an opportunity to start giving students tools to support others and to deal with things themselves, as well to recognize that there are multiple safe people to turn to,” he said.

In times of need, Erker wants his students to know they can turn to a teacher, youth care worker, or Indigenous support worker.

He added it’s important to provide students with support and knowledge to practise the kind of person they want to be.

“At the end of the day, students are still going to face these challenges outside of our four walls too. So, it’s important to provide students the opportunity to talk about it and work things out.”

The school is hosting Vancouver Football Club (VFC) players, who will read to students on Pink Shirt Day, Feb. 28, and have discussions about kindness.

Erker hopes the message of kindness being delivered from professional athletes will help teach students that this type of character building occurs outside of the classroom, too.

“I think having VFC come in and talk about how these principles are relayed in their environment, and how it can be translated to our environment… I think that’s really important for students to see they can use this outside of school,” he said.

Erker added that it’s important to acknowledge Pink Shirt Day, and provide an opportunity for students to ask questions.

VFC player Anthony White said he feels it’s important to develop a support system, noting everyone will experience bullying at least once in their life.

His teammate, Kadin Chung, noted that there are some kids who experience bullying at a young age.

“[Kids] can develop habits for [bullying], and I think it’s something we shouldn’t distance ourselves from. We never know what people are going through,” Chung said.

Chung has done similar community events before, and he shared that the conversations have changed since he was a kid. An important difference, he’s noticed, is having speakers come to schools more frequently to spread messages of kindness and community.

“I was once in their shoes and looking up to people who are coming in and talking about different subjects, and I think it’s something I was [receptive] to and I used it to project me into the kind of person I wanted to be,” Chung said.

Erker concluded that everyone can benefit from a little bit of kindness.

Pink Shirt Day takes place Wednesday, Feb. 28.

Alex Hope Elementary will also be celebrating Diversity Week, wearing a different colour each day signifying a different value.

In 2017, the Langley School District established the week-long initiative to coincide with Pink Shirt Day to promote acceptance and inclusion.

Learn more at

READ ALSO: Langley City calls on B.C. for more school funding as growth takes off

Vancouver FC players Kadin Chung (left) and Anthony White (right) will read to Alex Hope Elementary students with their teammates for Pink Shirt Day. (Kyler Emerson/Langley Advance Times)

Kyler Emerson

About the Author: Kyler Emerson

I'm excited to start my journalism career in Langley and meet our community.
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