General News » News

Justin Besley is making 150 Count

February 8, 2017   ·   0 Comments

By Michelle Janzen

This past Tuesday, January 31, local student Justin Besley had the honour of bringing an anti-bullying assembly to about 1,000 elementary schools students, from Grades 1 to 8, from Glenbrook, Hyland Heights and Centennial Hylands Elementary Schools.

Launched to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary, the RBC’s #make150count program gives selected youth $150, no strings attached, and asks them to do something great with it, encouraging young Canadians to do something that will make a positive impact in their communities.

After being chosen as the recipient of the Royal Bank of Canada, Shelburne, and receiving monies in the amount of $150, Besley tells the Free Press “It took some time to figure out what exactly I wanted to do, but thanks to my mother (Heather Braiden), my aunts, my nana and poppa as well as Josee, Valerie and Sarah from the Royal Bank, we decided to have Anthony McLean come to the school and talk about bullying.”

“I think this is a good topic because I have seen bullying a lot in my life, from family members and friends, to some of my hockey teammates being bullied,” he explains.

In order to accomplish anything, Besley needed to raise the extra funds it was going to cost to bring Anthony McLean to Shelburne’s youth. Subsequently he fundraised by selling Noah Martin’s pepperttes to make the mark. He would like to thank Sean McCallum, the Jr. Schooners and the Muskies for their additional support to get him to his goal.

Anthony McLean is a motivational speaker with a passion to prevent bullying, racism and discrimination.

For the past 10 years, McLean, has been touring schools and speaking to students about diversity, bullying and well issues surrounding health and wellness, using comedy, pop culture and freestyle raps to keep students engaged to spread his uplifting message.

The former actor on CBC children’s show The X found his calling while touring schools with fellow cast members.

A guidance counsellor at one of the schools noticed McLean possessed a keen ability to connect with kids.

She said their biggest problem was bullying and suggested he put a presentation together. Anthony has since appeared as a guest speaker on CITYTV’s Breakfast Television, Global Toronto’s Morning Show, 680 News, CTV News and CBC’s Here and Now.

His presentation started off with a dab – for those of you who don’t know what a dab is, it’s a current dance move most kids know – and this had them eating out of the palm of his hand from the get go.

With his fun, interactive style and interaction with the crowd, it was easy to see that his message was getting through to the children. Relaying messages such as talk it out, walk away, ignore it or seek help, explaining that seeking help is not tattletaleing  if someone is getting hurt.

Making all attending stand up and take his oath by repeating after him:”I promise I will do my best not to laugh at others, not to call others names, not to point out others differences, not to put others down. If I don’t have anything nice to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My words are a gift to lift up, not put down.”

Besley says, “With the remaining money that I raised, I am going to give each of the schools that attended $100 for their Breakfast programs, and the remainder I am going to donate to Hair Off for Headwaters this year.”

For Heather, I am sure this is “one happy mom moment.”

Job well done Justin!

For more information on Anthony McLean, go to



Readers Comments (0)

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Page Reader Press Enter to Read Page Content Out Loud Press Enter to Pause or Restart Reading Page Content Out Loud Press Enter to Stop Reading Page Content Out Loud Screen Reader Support