Global News: 2-1-1 texting campaign takes aim at ending bullying

B.C.-based campaign ‘I Am Someone” is hoping to go national with its efforts to end bullying.

It’s a sad reality that many teens feel alone and bullied. The program uses text messages to communicate with teens and get information to them in a matter of minutes.

“We’re using the number 2-1-1 — that’s how simple it is. They can just text 211 and they can access confidential, anonymous professionals,” says Erin Moore from the ‘I Am Someone’ campaign.

Erin Moore and her husband, Port Coquitlam mayor Greg Moore, are again promoting the tool since bullying hits close to home.

“Our daughter has had to go through it,” Greg says. “Luckily we have a really great relationship so there’s a lot of great communication going on. But she also knows that if she doesn’t feel comfortable talking to us she can text 2-1-1.”

Three years ago Port Coquitlam teen Amanda Todd took her own life after being bullied and blackmailed online. It’s hoped others can be helped before it’s too late.

“Things like, ‘I don’t like my mother’s boyfriend, he makes me feel uncomfortable. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do, I don’t want to go home.’ That’s one example. ‘Or today I was bullied, it
didn’t feel good, what do I do?’ These are the kind of texts 2-1-1 is receiving,” Erin explains.

The texting program was started a year ago as a pilot and now it’s available from Hope to Whistler.

“We’re partnering with BC 2-1-1 which is a partner with United Way.” Greg says.

“Right now it’s from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. and they just have to text 2-1-1. Our goal as ‘I Am Someone’ is to take that across the province and hopefully across the country, as well, so all youth have access to this service.”

If you would like to help the campaign, check out their online auction.

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