The South Hill Mall will host an anti-bullying event at 1 p.m. Saturday to raise public awareness about the social issue.
Melissa McGuire, the marketing director at the mall, said the cause is important to the company.
“Our goal is to keep our mall a safe place for everyone,” she said. “We have signs around the mall, posters and banners, and we consider the mall a bully-free zone.”
The public is invited to sign an anti-bullying pledge during the event at Center Court.
Company Vice President Phyllis Cafaro has made it her mission to enrich the lives of children and let them know bullying is not OK, McGuire said.
“Her whole mission is anti-bullying, and to get communities, schools and businesses on board,” McGuire said.
October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and all of the Cafaro malls and Captain McFinn and Friends are sponsoring a campaign called Malls and Retailers Unite against Bullying.
South Hill Mall sent letters to area schools, to Puyallup School District Tim Yeomans and to government officials to invite them to attend the event. Daffodil princesses also will be on hand.
Captain McFinn is a black-tipped shark character that used to be the biggest bully on Sand Dusty reef. He decided being a bully wasn’t a good thing when the Undersea Friends showed him the virtues of helping and caring for others.
Cafaro created Captain McFinn and Friends. Books and CDs about Captain McFinn’s adventures will be available at the mall.
McGuire hopes the character will be able to make an appearance.
Children are encouraged to wear super hero costumes when they attend the event.
“We will make signs that say, ‘Be a Buddy, not a Bully,’ and we will march through the mall,” McGuire said.
Children are encouraged to tell their parents or one of the mall’s security guards if they are being bullied or witness anyone being bullied at the mall, McGuire said.
The mall will hold a media event at 11 a.m. Oct. 16 for its anti-bullying campaign.
“We invited all local media to come out and help us sign the pledge together,” McGuire said.
Posters will remain in the food court throughout October.
The Captain McFinn and Friends website said events such as the one Saturday provide an opportunity to build community awareness, create change and teach others how to end the cycle of bullying.Joan Cronk is a freelance reporter for the Herald.