Canadian personalities Keshia Chante, Massari, Trevor Boris and Rick Foley help students SPEAK OUT against bullying on April 13

Support the movement by following SPEAK OUT on Twitter and Facebook

GUELPH, ON, April 11 /CNW/ - April 13 is an important day for 18-year-old Alex Vander Vlugt, founder and executive director of SPEAK OUT, a student-led anti-bullying movement (Twitter hashtag #SWSO).

That day marks the worldwide premiere of Alex's second film, SPEAK OUT: THE DOCUMENTARY on openfilm.com, and also his organization's third annual Pink Shirt Day, a national campaign designed to raise awareness about bullying.

After hearing about the Pepsi Refresh Project, a program that funds ideas promoting positive social change, Alex applied for a $5,000 grant to help him create the documentary. An aspiring filmmaker, Alex wanted to create a movie that would be used as an anti-bullying tool and encourage peer dialog about the issue. Following a two-month public voting campaign on the refresheverything.ca website, Alex's documentary idea was one of 10 chosen by Canadians to receive funding.

Over the past four months of production, Alex and a crew of a few friends who volunteered their time, have secured the interest and involvement of high-profile Canadian personalities wanting to share advice and personal stories about dealing with bullying.

The cast of SPEAK OUT: THE DOCUMENTARY includes Juno-nominated singer Keshia Chante and pop music star Massari, Toronto Argonauts' Defensive End Ricky Foley, stand-up comedian and MuchMusic personality Trevor Boris, motivational speaker Jesse Jones from U-ology101, motivational singer-songwriter Sara Westbrook, as well as students, teachers, parents and industry professionals. Topics explored include racism, homophobia, suicide, mental health and cyber bullying.

"The mission of SPEAK OUT: THE DOCUMENTARY is to make a positive difference in the lives of children and youth and build a bully-free society for all students and community members," said Alex Vander Vlugt. "Created by youth for youth, the film will help us speak out for those that can't."

"We are very excited for Alex, and look forward to seeing his hard work come to life on screen," said Neetu Godara, Senior Marketing Manager, PepsiCo Beverages Canada. "Alex embodies everything the Pepsi Refresh Project stands for - his work is helping to refresh the world and make a positive impact on the lives of young Canadians."

More than 4000 high school students will be wearing pink on April 13. You can show your support for SPEAK OUT by uploading a photo of yourself wearing pink to the SPEAK OUT Facebook page (facebook.com/sowhatspeakout) or Twitter handle (@sowhatspeakout) and use the #SWSO hashtag to help raise awareness for the cause.

The pink shirt campaign originates from Nova Scotia where two senior students spoke out to help out a junior student who was bullied for wearing a pink polo shirt on his first day of school. Today, thousands of youth across Canada unite as they take a stand against bullying by wearing pink.

About Alex Vander Vlugt
Alex Vander Vlugt is an 18-year-old Guelph, Ontario high school student and the founder and Executive Director of SPEAK OUT, a student led anti-bullying group that was established in 2009. He is the Upper Grand District School Board student trustee for all urban schools within the board. Alex sits on the Board of Directors for the Ontario Student Trustees' Association and is also the Executive Communications Officer for the association.

SOURCE SPEAK OUT

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