SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. - Two young singers hit a chord with their audience at the annual Crime Stoppers luncheon that was held at the Loyalist Lakeview Resort on Friday in Summerside.
Ava and Lily Rashed, 14-year-old twins from Charlottetown, are fighting to end cyberbullying with their powerful song lyrics, “Worth It!”
“The message is how everyone in this situation, from each perspective, is worth it. Maybe there’s a reason why he or she is bullying the person, maybe they are struggling with low self-esteem, so there are no winners. Everyone is worth it,” said Lily.
“A lot of our friends have experienced bullying, as well as cyberbullying, so we wrote this song to help them (and others in the same situation).”
An excerpt from the song goes:
“I am worth it, you don’t have anything on me. No one’s perfect, I have a sense of clarity. And you’ll never change who I am for you. You’ll never break me. I caught the stones you threw. I am worth it and I know you don’t believe it, but baby so are you.”
The duos talent is no surprise to their father, Haywire keyboardist and Islander, David Rashed.
“We’re beaming every time we hear them sing or write new material. They just have a lot of maturity for their age. We’re very proud,” he said, with a smile.
The twins are part of an international campaign to fight cyberbullying.
The month of January is dedicated to raising awareness on the largely volunteer-based organization, Crime Stoppers.
The organization plays an important role to help make communities safer, as well as foster better places to live, learn and do business.
Co-ordinator for P.E.I. Crime Stoppers, Scott Lundrigan said, “Our residents are incredible human beings, and almost 90 per cent of our tipsters (anonymous callers who continue to assist law enforcement agencies) do not claim their rewards.”
More than 100 people attended the Crime Stoppers luncheon to celebrate the organizations 29 years of operation.
Crime Stoppers announced plans to partner with school and community groups to fund programs and prevent youth crime.
Scott Travis, the national Pink Shirt Day co-founder, shared his heartfelt story on bullying.
“Going through school was never easy for me. I was always the closet target, and always the victim. It led to events where I was beat-up, put in hospital and police were involved.
“I always got the tagline, which always hurt the most, ‘kids will be kids.’ It dropped me as a kid.
“I remember this one incident where I just got out the hospital and my uncle was talking to my parents about getting tough and saying this tagline, and I pulled my shirt up to reveal the bruising and said, ‘does this look like kids just being kids?’ And I walked away from it.
“This is a very real issue that kids and, adults go through,” he said to the audience.
“Bullying effects can be lasting.”
Friday was the official launch of the Pink Shirt campaign and sales of pink T-shirts, with proceeds going to help youth programs.
President of the Federation of Prince Edward Island Municipalities, Bruce MacDougall lifted the luncheon with his new song that celebrates the Island.
“I was called into work one evening and was driving down to Borden. You could see the bridge and a beautiful sunset,” said MacDougall, while explaining the lyrics.
“There were no waves in the (Northumberland) Strait, the cornfields were a certain colour, and it was just a beautiful picture. I thought to myself, ‘this place is so beautiful, and yet so many people take it for granted.' The picture sat with me.
“The next morning, I went into work and the sun was coming up from the east. The landscape was still the same, but now a different shade. I felt compelled to write a song, and the words just poured out in 15 minutes.”
MacDougall plans to release his song soon.
The event kicked off at 11: 30 a.m., with Crime Stoppers awards being presented on the floor to Wayne Lilly and Malcolm MacFarlane, before wrapping up shortly after 1 p.m.