Despite a different looking crowd than Tuesday’s middle school students, the message delivered was still the same: everyone has the ability to make a difference, and men and women have to work together to deter the occurrence of women’s abuse.
Lions safety LaRose adds that even though the message is the same, it takes a different approach when speaking with adults than it is speaking to kids of adolescents.
"It’s the same message, but I think the atmosphere is a bit different. We can get into a little more detail and they understand and of course the audience is a lot more mature as well compared to some of the schools. But at the same time, the questions are different because some of the adults don’t ask a lot of questions, while compared to the kids, you get every type of question."
The three-year Be More Than a Bystander campaign is just starting its second year, and LaRose says being part of the initiative has been an eye opener for the Lions safety, who says he’s been pleased with the response the campaign has received in Fort St. John.
"We’ve been very impressed with how mature some of the students were being in grade seven, eight and nine. We had a breakout session with some of the kids in grade nine, and they are very mature," he says. "This morning was great at the breakfast; we thought the people here were very receptive to the campaign and what we’re trying to do."
Clarice Eckford of the Fort St. John Women’s Resource Society says not only is the message extremely important, but having the B.C. Lions discuss the issue is a great way to spread word of the cause.
"It’s really exciting to have J.R. LaRose and Angus Reid here," she says. "I think it’s really important for boys, particularly in middle school and high school, to hear this coming from football players who are clearly quite macho and manly, and to hear a message of stand up for women and stand against abuse against women. I think that’s good to hear from these guys and at Bert Bowes the students were really attentive."
Finally, LaRose says being an ambassador to such an important cause is "everything".
"To be able to be a spokesperson, and be part of that, having a lot of women in my life with my wife, sisters, nieces and cousins. It’s great to raise awareness and be that spokesperson. And the biggest thing is being a role model: we want to raise awareness that it’s not just a women’s issue, it’s a man’s issue too. And the more men we get on board with this teaming up with women, the more we are going to make a change."
Following their trip the Fort St. John, the Lions will head to Dawson Creek to continue spreading the positive message of the Be More Than a Bystander campaign.