An Abbotsford business is selling custom-designed T-shirts to raise bullying awareness, with partial proceeds supporting an Abbotsford youth organization.
Instant Imprints is selling the shirts for $7, with $1 from each sale going to the Abbosford Youth Commission (AYC) to support youth initiatives.
Store manager Blaine Maryniuk, himself a victim of bullying from ages five to 16, said that although much has been done in recent years to raise awareness of bullying in schools and the workplace, more must be done.
“I was regularly victimized from Grade 1 to Grade 11, sometimes in ways that were humiliating and harmful. At the time there was no help, no support and no way out except to resort to violence,” he said.
“That was over 30 years ago and my emotions still get stirred when I think about it.”
He believes that schools, churches and community organizations such as the AYC can help.
“Sadly, bullying has been around since the beginning of time and the only way to stop it is to make it known that it is not acceptable.”
He believes businesses need to become involved as well.
“Bullies are found in the workplace too – not just the schoolyard. Managers and owners of companies have a duty to call them out and to support staff who are their victims.”
Maryniuk said wearing a T-shirt is only a step towards having meaningful conversations and educating people about the effects of bullying.
He said it was through the intervention of his high school principal, who got him involved in leadership at his school and participating in community events, that he was able to come to terms with his situation.
The T-shirt was designed by the staff at Instant Imprints to have a broad appeal across ages and genders.
Schools will be offered two options – one targeted at teens and adults, and one geared towards younger children.
Members of the public will have access to one design.
T-shirts should be ordered before Feb. 2, and they will be ready for delivery or pickup by Feb. 20.
For more information or to place an order, email email@example.com, call 604-746-7644 or visit the business at 1975 McCallum Rd.