October 24th is Ontario Dress Purple Day

Children’s Aid Societies campaign asks adults to think more carefully about how they can be helpful to the children and youth in their lives

On October 24th, Children’s Aid Societies across Ontario will launch the annual Ontario Dress Purple Day campaign to raise awareness about the important role adults and communities play in supporting children and youth, especially those who are facing challenges. This year as many as 50 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 join 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 Brant Street Pier, Oakville Town Hall, 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,” says 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.

“Children’s Aid Societies are part of a broader children’s services system,” says Nicole Bonnie. “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,” says Nicole Bonnie. “If you listen to children and youth and know what services are available, you are in a better position to be helpful.”

 “Keeping the most vulnerable members of our communities safe is a responsibility shared by all of us,” notes Janice Robinson, Executive Director, Halton Children’s Aid Society. “By participating on Dress Purple Day, you are showing children and youth who need help that they are not alone.” Join us on October 24th and Dress Purple!

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