By: Alexandria McLean | @itbalexandria
November is bullying awareness month across Canada, and this week Family Channel will be holding its annual Bullying Awareness Week. From Monday November 17th to Sunday November 23rd, Family Channel will be airing an entire week of anti-bullying dedicated programming. This year, viewers can be sure to see new bullying-themed episodes of a variety of show, PSAs and messages from their favourite stars and musicians, and exclusive footage from this year’s Stand UP! rally.
The Magazine got the chance to attend Family Channel’s Stand Up! rally at St. Brendon Catholic School in Scarborough, Ontario. Maya, a Grade 5 student, submitted her entry to Family Channel after watching pervious Stand Up! rallies on television. “I wrote about what our school does to stand up and how we are one big family. We have yard monitors, we have the golden rule, which is to kind of keep your hands to yourself, and we have other things that we do,” Maya tells us about her entry.
The rally was hosted by The Next Step actors and dancers Alexandra Beaton and Jennie Pappas, who play Emily and Chloe respectively, and was kicked off with an exclusive screening of a bullying-themed Austin & Ally episode (The episode will air on Family Channel Friday November 21st at 6:30PM). The episode was followed by a question and answer session with a PREVNet representative. PREVNet (Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network) is a network whose message is to stop bullying in Canada. The presentation featured facts about cyber bullying and where to seek help. The next speaker at the rally was Jason Colero, a community representative who works with The Argos. Jason shared his experience of being bullied and the obstacles he was able to overcome. The rally concluded with a Stand UP! dance party to this year’s Stand UP! song “I’m Ready (Stand UP! Edit)” by Canadian pop-rock band Eleven Past One.
After the rally finished, The Magazine got the chance to sit down with its host Alexandra and Jennie to talk about the rally and what they are looking forward to on the future dates.
The Magazine: What is the Stand UP! rally?
Alex: The Stand UP! rally is a rally that Family Channel holds annually, which is yearly. It is basically promoting standing up to bullying which is obviously something that is amazing.
Jennie: Different entries from all over Canada got to enter the contest and we chose four winners. We now get to go and do an assembly at their school, and bring in some community people who have been working all year to prevent bullying and other special guests too.
Alex: It’s amazing because it kind of brings in the whole community aspect of it and it kind of engages everybody and let’s the kids know that there is always somebody there to listen.
The Magazine: For those who may be experiencing bullying what is your advice for them?
Jennie: I would say you are not alone so don’t be afraid to talk anyone. Even though it is hard, I would say confide in people and everyone will want to help you out for sure.
Alex: I would have to say the same thing. Don’t keep it to yourself. There are people who are going through the exact same thing or at least something very similar, and tons of people want to help you. So reach out and stand up for yourself, and stand up for everybody that is also going through that situation.
The Magazine: So this is your first rally of four, what has been your favourite thing so far?
Alex: Dance party!
Jennie: Yeah, the dance party was awesome but it was also really cool to meet the representative from PREVNet because she works all year to prevent cyber bulling which is a huge thing these days. It was really cool meeting…
Alex: Jason from The Argos! Yeah, he was awesome and he told such an inspirational story. I think it is good for the older boys especially to hear that kind of message, especially from someone involved in such a masculine sport because boys get bullied too. It is a lot harder for them to come forward, not that is not hard for females, but because boys are taught to be so masculine it is hard for them to come forward and say that someone is hurting their feelings.
The Magazine: What are you most excited for the upcoming rallies?
Alex: I think just spreading the message and meeting everyone. It is nice that we can take these photos with everyone and have a one on one message with them.
Jennie: I would say getting to travel is going to be really cool and just getting to meet people all over Canada who are just here for the same cause, and they all want to accomplish the same thing.
Alex: I am so excited that Jennie and I are doing this together, because it is a cause that is close to both of our hearts. It’s a thing we have talked about tons on set and how we both would like to get more involved in it. I think that this is a great opportunity.
Thanks Alex and Jennie, and thank-you Family Channel for having us.
Tune into Family Channel all week for anti-bullying episodes and content. On Friday November 21st at 6:30PM The Next Step stars Alexandra Beaton, Jennie Pappas, Lamar Johnson, Brittany Raymond, and Trevor Trodjman will be taking over Family Channel and hosting A Night To Stand UP! For. Make sure to check family.ca for full episode listings and times!