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The BC Lions Football Club is pleased to announce that its recently announced “Be More Than a Bystander” project, focused on breaking the silence on violence against women is now going to benefit from the support of three new partners. A third major founding partner, Encana Corporation, has come on board to join Status of Women Canada and the Ministry of Children and Family Development to support all aspects of this two-year provincial program between the Ending Violence Association of BC (EVA BC) and the BC Lions. Municipal partners including the City of Vancouver and the City of Surrey have also joined to support this groundbreaking initiative by providing significant campaign advertising space in bus shelters as well as supporting the school-based education aspect of the program.
“We believe in contributing to the sustainability of communities we work in and that is a major reason why we are so proud to partner with the BC Lions and EVA BC in this initiative,” says Richard Dunn, Vice-President, Regulatory & Government Relations for Encana.
Guided by an advisory group of women who are experts in the area of violence against women, this comprehensive project features current members of the BC Lions Football Club visiting 40 high schools across the province over the next two years to talk to students about how they can be more than a bystander and break the silence on violence against women and girls. Workshop materials on how to talk to youth about these topics will also be created for coaches of amateur football teams and a legacy film will be created and distributed across BC. Players from the BC Lions will also be appearing in radio and TV public service announcements in addition to their current appearances on game day video PSA’s, the game day program and on transit ads throughout Vancouver and Surrey.
“The assistance being provided by these new partners is substantial and will result in considerable support for the entire program, millions of views of the public service ads as well important backing for the pivotal message to youth and adults alike to break the silence on violence against women,” stated Tracy Porteous, Executive Director of EVA BC, the project’s lead organization.
“Giving youth the skills to speak up and learn to be more than a bystander is an important step in changing attitudes and ending violence against women,” said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. “The City of Vancouver is proud to partner on this project and I hope that other cities will join as well.”
“It will take the concerted efforts of the entire community to effect change and eradicate violence against women,” says Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts. “The City of Surrey is proud to join in this unique partnership to engage the public and create awarenessaround abuse and the devastating impact it has on families.”
The “Be More Than a Bystander” project was launched on July 7, 2011 at the BC Lions training facility in Surrey with announcements made by the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women, and Mary McNeil, B.C.’s Minister of Children and Family Development, in association with Wally Buono, General Manager and Head Coach of the BC Lions Football Club and Tracy Porteous, Executive Director of EVA BC (Ending Violence Association of BC).
“Past partnerships that have engaged BC Lions players in schools have shown that youth really respond to the role-modelling and messages the BC LIons deliver,” said Shirley Bond, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “The Province believes that using this proven approach to reach so many students, and backing it with broader public education, will help to address the violence that continues to affect many women, girls and their families.”