On October 24 Children’s Aid Societies across Ontario will launch the annual Ontario Dress Purple Day campaign, to raise awareness about the important role that adults and communities play in supporting children and youth, especially those who are facing challenges. This year as many as fifty boards of education and thousands of students in schools across the province are expected to join the campaign that promotes every child and youth’s right to safety and well-being in all areas of their lives. Community organizations across the province will also be joining the campaign to explain how they are part of the “community that cares for kids.” Landmarks across the province will be lit purple on October 24, including the CN Tower and Niagara Falls.
“On Ontario Dress Purple Day, we are asking adults and community partners to think more deeply about how they can better support the safety and well-being of the young people around them,” said Nicole Bonnie, CEO of the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies (OACAS). “Youth tell us the most important thing we can do is listen. How can you protect a child or youth if you are not engaging with them?”
To support the campaign, and in response to the recommendations from the Jeffrey Baldwin and Katelynn Sampson Inquests, OACAS developed classroom resources that support educators to engage with their students in conversations about safety and well-being. The resources, which are based on the theme, “It takes a community to care for kids,” educate students about their networks of support. Research shows that ensuring that children and youth are aware of helping adults and organizations in their support network offers them an important tool that lessens their vulnerability to harm.
“Dress Purple Day is about raising awareness and the role we all play in supporting vulnerable children, youth and families. We need to speak up for every child and youth’s right to be safe in all spaces,” said Jill Dunlop, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues.
“Children’s Aid Societies are part of a broader children’s services system. Telling young people about the range of supportive services that are available to them is another way that we can help protect their right to safety and well-being,” said Nicole Bonnie. “If you listen to children and youth and know what services are available, you are in a better position to be helpful.”
To learn more about Ontario Dress Purple Day campaign, the Youth for Change social media campaign on how to be a helpful adult, and events taking place across the province, please contact Sean McGrady at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To acknowledge Ontario Dress Purple Day, the CN Tower will be lit purple at the bottom half of very hour from dawn to dusk on October 24.