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Metro Vancouver youth launch 'Safe Buddies' in response to anti-Asian hate crimes

The program was created in response to anti-Asian sentiments during the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent shootings in Atlanta
Woman walking alone
The BOLT Safety Society is launching its Safe Buddies program to keep seniors and women safe when walking back to their homes.

A non-profit led by some of Vancouver’s most vigilant youth is offering a way for people to help keep women safe as they go about their day.

The BOLT Safety Society, made up of nearly two dozen young men and women, will be launching their Safe Buddies program on April 10. The program was created in response to the surge of anti-Asian hate crimes during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the shootings in Atlanta and the recent incident involving a woman being stalked in downtown Vancouver.

“Safe Buddies are volunteers who will escort seniors and women home. The goal of the program is to foster compassion and keep our community safe,” reads the program’s description.

To become a Safe Buddy, volunteers at or over the age of 18 can apply. Pending on Safe Buddy availability, clients will be matched with buddies who will then stay with the client along a predetermined route. Throughout the trip phone or text message check-ins will be made to ensure the volunteers’ and clients’ safety.

According to BOLT’s website, seniors at or over the age of 60 in Canada can request Safe Buddies to escort them to their residence. The service will also be available to anyone who identifies as a woman who feels unsafe walking alone. 

Requests will be matched to available Safe Buddies, who will travel with the client on a planned walking route. Service hours are currently 3 to 7 p.m. on weekdays. Alternatively, if no Safe Buddy volunteers are available, BOLT Safety’s command centre will connect with the client via phone call for the duration of their travel. 

Booking requests open on April 10, with the service being offered onwards of April 12. For more information check out BOLT Safety Society’s website.