Hello – I would like to introduce myself. My name is Patricia Lessard and I am the owner and operator of Leading Edge Promo in Langley, BC. We supply branded apparel and promotional products to businesses, schools, nonprofits and various other associations.
A good friend of mine, Cecelia Reekie who is a member of the Haisla Nation and who was formerly a Langley School Board Trustee shared the story of residential schools with me when the report for Truth and Reconciliation came out. Her father is a residential school survivor, and this story shocked me to my very core.
Cecelia, knowing my history of working with promotional products, asked if I would help her and her school district to assist in her passion to promote the Journey to Reconciliation by partnering up to create Orange Shirts.
With Cecelia’s help, we reached out to the originators of the Orange Shirt Day. Phyllis Jack-Webstad graciously granted her permission and blessings for this project in 2016. The next year we were honoured to be asked by the Orange Shirt Society to help them with a website to sell Orange Shirts.
At the time, the Orange Shirt society had no funds to purchase inventory or a website. This was a considerable risk for a small business run by a self-employed single mother, but I used my own funds to build a website and purchase inventory on the Orange Shirt Society’s behalf. Over the years the initiative grew and we have continued to fund the campaigns each year.
A portion of all proceeds has gone to the Society, and we have been able to give them over $150,000.00 to date in 2020 to fund their extremely important work. As a settler, it gives me great honour to partner with the Orange Shirt Society each year in this continued “Journey Towards Reconciliation”.
Over the years we have added more items than just the Orange Shirts that represent this important cause.
Wishing everyone love and happiness as we make this journey towards reconciliation.
PS: If you are interested, here is a link to the report: nctr.ca/reports.php