For 15-year-old Ruben Krueger of Nelson, Pink Shirt Day means the opportunity to show solidarity.
“As a victim of bullying, I know the feeling of isolation and being part of Pink Shirt Day makes me feel like I'm not alone and I know people who will support me and I will support others,” Ruben says.
A leader at Nayland College’s Queer Straight Alliance, Ruben iwas one of five lucky Kiwi kids who won the Pink Shirt Day Heroes competition and spent Friday 22 May at the Navy Base in Auckland.
“It was so much fun,” Ruben says.
He found it so refreshing to see the Defence Force stand so strongly against bullying and learned there are people out there who are accepting. Fellow Pink Shirt Day hero Madeline Arps (12) of Lower Hutt also really enjoyed her day at Devonport.
“It was absolutely amazing. It was so much fun. The best thing was the firefighting at the navy base,” Madeline says.
“My dad came with me and I found out he looked very good in pink,” she says.
“I thought I would be a good Pink Shirt Day hero because during school I have experienced a few bullies in my time. All you need to do is stand up.”
The competition was open to Kiwi kids aged 8–18 who had to write about what Pink Shirt Day meant to them and why they would make a good Pink Shirt Day hero. Esther Chiang, Tekau Solomona and Chance Whittaker-Ngaropo were the other three winners of our Pink Shirt Day heroes competition.
It’s also not too late to donate to the Mental Health Foundation’s Pink Shirt Day appeal. Text PINK to 2446 to make an automatic $3 donation or make an online donation via the PSD website.
Pictured left to right: Tekau Solomona, Chance Whittaker-Ngaropo, Madeline Arps, Ruben Krueger and Esther Chiang, with last year’s PSD Hero Finn Williams in front.