By Brianna Menzies-Vaught, Now-Leader contributor
SURREY — Even professional football players like Emmanuel Arceneaux know the pain of being picked on as a child.
“No one is really exempt from experiencing any types of bullying,” the BC Lions wide receiver told students at Surrey’s Johnston Heights Secondary school on Monday morning.
“In high school I was undersized… and every year I got cut from the football team. I remember going to a pep rally and they put me in recycle dumpster, and i couldn’t get out.
“Going into my senior year I ended up growing 12 inches and now everybody that called me little, I’m bigger than them… I used a negative and turned it into a positive and it got me where I am today.”
Arceneaux was in Surrey as part of the Shaw Respect Camp, a multi-media event put on by Canadian Red Cross and Shaw Communications to stress the importance of respecting others. He said he hopes sharing his personal story will help young people open up about struggles they may have with bullying.
“We are all human and it is things that we face,” Arceneaux said. “I don’t want the kids to think that you’re the only one who had to deal with this and let them know that there are resources, it’s OK to talk to friends and it’s OK to talk to your parents because bottling it in isn’t the best way to handle it.”
Lisa Evanoff, development and resources co-ordinator for the Red Cross, says the program is trying to educate youth about healthy peer relationships and the importance of surrounding themselves with good friends.
“The goal is to train youth across Canada that will do peer lead sessions with younger students, and be role models and talk to them about anti-bullying and how to promote healthy relationships.”