Step Up 2021

Dilico Anishinabek Family Care Encourages the Community to Come Together to Support Children & Youth for Child Abuse Prevention Month

Thunder Bay, ON, October 4, 2021- 2021 marks the 12th year of Dilico Anishinabek Family Care’s Step Up campaign in Thunder Bay and District. This year the annual initiative is looking to amplify the voices of Indigenous youth and raise awareness about how the community can step up and Come Together to help keep children safe and strengthen families this October.

“Step Up 2021 is about amplifying the voices of Indigenous children and youth and coming together to build toward a future in which we can all feel safe. By doing so we are helping children grow into strong individuals who will be capable of standing up for themselves, identifying child abuse, and will support the health, happiness and safety of children and youth,” says John Dixon, Director of Integrated Services of Dilico Anishinabek Family Care.

As a part of the 2021 Step Up campaign, Indigenous youth are expressing their views on how the community and individuals can step up and show that every child matters. Dilico will also host the Come Together Youth Gathering virtually on October 13th from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. A motivational talk will be provided by Turtle Concepts and there will be prizes for participation. This is a free event and registration is not required. A zoom link will be posted at dilico.com/StepUp on
the day of the event.

“The community can make youth feel safe, connected and hopeful for the future, by being inclusive, including youth opinions, and taking into consideration how things can effect them. Also encouraging youth, making them feel like they do matter and how they feel matters, rather than shutting them down because they are younger or not an adult,” says Daanis Pelletier.

“As an Indigenous youth I feel like ways people can make youth feel more safe is ensuring an individual has a safe place to talk, and knowing their voice will always be heard, regardless of whether their idea is little or too big,” explains Laura Twance.

“People can step up to show that every child matters by spreading more awareness about mental health, or other problems kids face today. Also by talking, and having one on one conversations to let them know that they matter,” says Kiefer Sabourin.

There are several ways individuals, families, businesses, organizations and schools can Come Together and step up this October:

  • Wear a purple ribbon, or participate in Go Purple for Prevention Day happening on October 27th. Find your favourite purple outfit. Take photos or video of your staff, family, students in purple and share them on Facebook and Instagram with #StepUpTBay and tagging @stepupThunderBay. Photos can also be submitted to: stepup@firedogpr.com
  • Participate in the Step Up Scavenger Hunt.
  • Educate yourself. Learn the signs of child abuse and how you can help.
  • Take a Step: A footprint will be available to write on to say how you commit to step up for children and youth in 2021. Children and youth will be encouraged to write what the community can do to step up and make them feel connected, safe and hopeful for their future.
  • Ask yourself, “What am I doing to support children and youth in my community?”
  • Donate to the Mazinaajim Children’s Foundation. Mazinaajim supports Indigenous youth to achieve their dreams.

“I am filled with belief and hope because when I hear the voices of our youth and children, I know that the responsibilities that our ancestors carried are still being carried. We can still hear the voices of the land and the care and love for the children,” says Darcia Borg, Executive Director of Dilico Anishinabek Family Care.

Step Up is an awareness building campaign that started in 2009 in recognition of National Child Abuse Prevention Month. It is to remind Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities that we are all responsible for the health, happiness and well-being of children and youth.

Child abuse includes physical, emotional, sexual abuse and neglect. You can step up and become familiar with the signs of child abuse by visiting: dilico.com. For further information about the 2021 Step Up campaign and how you can participate, please visit the official Step Up Facebook page: facebook.com/StepUpThunderBay or Dilico.com/stepup.

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