A teacher, Trevor Knowlton, was named Summerland’s Citizen/Volunteer of the year on Saturday night.
Having been born and raised in Summerland, Knowlton described receiving the award as a “huge honour.”
Knowlton is the president and founder of Stop A Bully, a registered national charity and Canada-wide anti-bullying program.
He has testified at the Senate Committee on Human Rights for the Federal Government Cyberbullying Report and in 2012 was the recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence.
“There was an incident in May of 2009 at our school that sparked the whole program. I launched a website that allowed any student in Canada to report anonymously and safely incidents of bullying and cyberbullying to their principals. Five years later, it’s been quite a ride. Now we’re just trying to keep up,” said Knowlton.
He went on to explain how in August they had 360 kilograms of pink wristbands, which could be ordered online by schools, youth organizations and police departments across Canada.
The plan was to distribute them throughout the school year, but they were gone in 12 days.
To date they have distributed 125,000 of the wristbands and have approximately 200 schools that have joined the online program.
Knowlton also said they have had great support from Ottawa.
“On Monday we are launching a new text to donate system that was just approved through Ottawa.”
In order to donate a person can text the word “bully” to 45678 and the amount will be added to their phone bill.
“We’re very excited for this to help us, not only to handle our current situation, but to be able to grow,” said Knowlton.
The money raised will go towards keeping the website up and running, keeping wristbands in stock and supplying schools with posters and postcards.
The charity currently has 10 volunteers helping out with the workload and has moved to an office right next to Canada Post, convenient for them to do their shipping.
Moving forward, Knowlton says they will continue to seek sponsorship and that they definitely need more funding, as well as staff.
He stated that receiving this award was a huge honour for the program and for all the volunteers that work on it.
“This award means a lot to us,” he said.
Following the presentation of the award, as well as saying thank you to the business community, Knowlton said,
“I spend way too much time on the computer, so a huge thank you to my wife for putting up with me.”
To find out more go to www.stopabully.ca.