AMHERST – There’s a place where any child can find help any time. It’s called Kids Help Phone, and the Community Credit Union in Amherst and Truro are raising money to support the phone counseling service.
Pink toques with the banking institution’s logo and ‘Stand up against bullying’ embroidered on them are being sold in both locations for $10, with all proceeds going to Kids Help Phone. The credit union picked up the bill to produce the toques and will make more when the first batch of 200 sell out.
“This is wonderful,” said Shelley Richardson, a regional director with Kids Help Phone.
Richardson was passing through Amherst en route to the States. She stopped in Amherst Friday morning to see the institution and meet the staff raising money on behalf of her organization.
“Every one of us is affected by (bullying),” said Richardson.
The regional director pointed out one significant difference between bullying in past decades and bullying today: social media.
“The technology is here and it’s here to stay,” she said.
Richardson advocated parents monitoring their child’s access to the Internet. She suggested keeping computers in public areas of the house, and ensuring smart phones are used responsibly.
Terri McKillop, a credit union employee, was the chief instigator of the fundraising effort. Her teenaged son has a friend involved with Students Against Destructive Decisions. McKillop got thinking about ways her employer and colleagues could become involved in helping kids, and it became a topic of conversation.
Fundraising began with a pink shirt casual day, with shirts purchased by the credit union and staff paying a nominal fee to wear them. Clients were also given a chance to donate that day, and a total of about $130 was raised.
The pink shirts will make an appearance every quarter, said manager Laura Hicks, but the decision to make toques came out of pondering what else they could do.
“What’s relevant?” Hicks thought, she said.
The answer they came up with, especially given that it’s winter, was a pink, knitted cap.
“Young people do wear hats,” said Hicks.
Richardson said all ages wear toques, and both genders. And pink has become synonymous with the fight against bullying since the emergence of Trevor Price’s pink shirt campaign.
Richardson didn’t miss a chance to advocate for her charity. While obviously grateful for the effort of the credit union, when Hicks mentioned employees would be wearing pink shirts for the opening of a new branch Feb. 15 in Truro, the Kids Help Phone rep jumped on the idea other credit unions might institute pink shirt days.