Press Release – Child Matters
A flat piece of cardboard decorated to look like a child certainly has no voice. But Hamilton business and community leaders today gave New Zealand’s real children a voice during Buddy Day through cardboard cut-out look-a-likes.
16 November 2012
Hamilton buzzing with talk about Buddies
Hamilton, New Zealand – A flat piece of cardboard decorated to look like a child certainly has no voice. But Hamilton business and community leaders today gave New Zealand’s real children a voice during Buddy Day through cardboard cut-out look-a-likes.
Over the past nine hours, 335 business and community leaders have been participating in the annual child abuse prevention awareness campaign, Buddy Day. Since the event kick-off this morning at 7.30am, adult Carers have been taking their lifesize cardboard child cut-outs – Buddies – to business meetings, out for morning tea and out to lunch.
Individual Carers have been tasked with having a dialogue with around 25-50 people each about the importance of speaking up for children in abusive situations.
Buddy Crystal, created by Taupiri School, was hosted by agritech export company Simcro Ltd, which has more than 70 staff.
“Buddy Day is an exceptional initiative and we’re so pleased we got involved,” said Crystal’s Carer Russell Knutson. “The conversations we’ve had today have not only built resolve amongst our team to ensure the safety of our children but it’s also brought the team closer together. Our team, like many workplaces, is a blend of cultures and beliefs, but today we reaffirmed that we’re all united in doing all we can to protect our children.”
In downtown Hamilton it was impossible to walk down the street without bumping into someone with a Buddy.
Personal trainer Joe Henare said his Buddy Bob spent the day at the gym, including a workout at a Pump class.
Mark Goodman’s Buddy Chelsea was made by children from Te Rapa Primary School and Mark made a surprise visit to the class that created her. Sharon from Community Living was taking Buddy Princess Fiona to lunch after a busy morning in the office.
Buddy Day event manager Janine Evans said people had been taking their Buddies everywhere, to construction sites, on super-marathons, to parliament, to gym classes, to conferences and to work, creating thousands of conversations about speaking up about protecting children.
“Buddy Day has been a resounding success, and Child Matters will persevere with its dream to make it an annual national child abuse prevention awareness campaign that all New Zealanders can participate in.
“The support we have for Buddy Day in the Waikato shows that people want to do more to protect our children, they want to speak up, and they want to stop New Zealand’s terrible child abuse statistics.”
“Buddy Day is about creating social change and that will only happen when people of influence get involved and take action. That’s what happened in the Waikato, and around New Zealand.”
For more information on Buddy Day visit: www.buddyday.org.nz .
Follow Buddy Day on Facebook: www.facebook.com/buddydaynz .
About Buddy Day:
This year there are 335 Buddies being adopted by Carers on Buddy Day. This number represents 20% of the substantiated cases of child abuse in the Waikato last year.
Buddy Day has two components:
Buddies are Created, 2 November – 12 November:
• The week before Buddy Day, school children created Buddies from blank, life-sized cardboard cut-outs.
• Each ‘Buddy’ is given its own name and life story that is written by the children who decorate them.
Buddies are Adopted by Carers on Buddy Day, 16 November:
• Carers are adults who adopt the Buddies after they have been decorated, for the day only. This year Buddy Day is 16 November. The hub of the event is in Hamilton.
• On 16 November the 335 Carers collect their Buddies at a breakfast at the Claudelands Event Centre where they are also briefed about their responsibilities for the day.
• Carers take their ‘Buddy’ with them for the day – to the office, to meetings, to lunch, or running errands. The more places the Buddy visits the better!
• When others see Carers with their Buddy, this opens up conversations about the responsibility of every adult in our community to speak up for children and keep them safe.
• Throughout Buddy Day, when Carers have conversations about how adults need to speak up for children, they get people to sign a ‘Buddy diary.’ This is a way to spread the message of Buddy Day and its message about preventing child abuse.
• After the event, many of the schools involved in creating the Buddies ask for them back, and they are returned to them. Carers can also keep their Buddies if they wish. All other Buddies are returned to Child Matters.