Time For A Change

"You can be a leader of change in your world."

On Wednesday April 5, two-time Grey Cup champion and “Leading Change” facilitator Keon Raymond challenged the junior high and senior high students at the Foremost School to be an agent of change against violence.

 

Leading Change is an initiative put on by FCSS and ACWS to end violence towards women. Teaming up with CFL teams the Edmonton Eskimos and Calgary Stampeders, the aim is to spread the message that everyone can play a role in ending violence and open up dialogue on the issue.

 

The message was directed mostly towards the young men in the group. The goal of the program is to offer the tools to speak up against violence in this world especially violence towards women.

 

Seventy-four percent of Albertans know at least one woman who has experienced physical or sexual abuse. Raymond stated that, often these acts of violence are delivered by someone that the victom knows well or even live with.

 

One area that was made very clear was that men and women think differently about violence. When asked how the young men prepared to go somewhere they were somewhat confused. So it was restated, “What kinds of things would they do to protect themselves when going out? Most just thought you grabbed your phone and a jacket maybe if the weather called for it and then just go where you wanted to go. The young women talked about going out in numbers, wearing baggy clothing, only going to places you are familiar with and even crossing the street when someone was approaching them.

 

Men do not have to think about whether they are parked under a streetlight in a parking lot or who is parked next to them in that panel van. They do not tend to check the backseat before they get in the car. Men can set a drink down in a bar and not have to have it babysat by a friend or have to order another drink if they walk away. Keon made the young men stop and think when he asked them if they have to take a friend with them for safety when they go to the washroom in a public place.

 

The young men came away with a better understanding of what women go through everyday in order to stay safe and how they can help to make their world a little more comfortable for females. They heard how a “joke” or comment although thought to be harmless, might indeed be devastating to recipient.

 

Raymond said when talking to a small group of teachers, “Although the students have heard this message many times from the media, teachers and their parents, sometimes hearing it from an athlete or another type of celebrities makes the message more relevant to them.”

 

Foremost School would like to thank Corina Roth-Beacome and the local FCSS from bringing this initiative to Foremost School. The students will not soon forget the visit from #25 Keon Raymond and his message.