Bud­dies bring aware­ness

South Waikato News - - NEWS -

The Waikato re­gion marked the sec­ond an­niver­sary of Buddy Day last Fri­day, a day ded­i­cated to rais­ing aware­ness in the community about child abuse.

This year Toko­roa and the South Waikato got be­hind Buddy Day, which is or­gan­ised by Child Mat­ters.

Around 335 bud­dies were dec­o­rated by schools, child­care cen­tres and other or­gan­i­sa­tions throughout the re­gion and last Fri­day they were out and about with their adop­tive car­ers, shar­ing sto­ries of child abuse.

Two such bud­dies were Goolah and Maddy who hit the streets of Toko­roa last week.

Toko­roa so­cial worker Lynda Dick­son’s sup­port for Buddy Day was ev­i­dent, hav­ing adopted 10 Bud­dies so that chil­dren from Strath­more, David Henry, Whaka­maru, Mangakino Area, Te Waotu, Tainui, Bishop Ed­ward Gaines and Cen­tral schools could be buddy creators.

‘‘It takes a community to raise a child and I want peo­ple to

Buddy Day. know what is hap­pen­ing with child abuse in our community. It’s very real, peo­ple don’t have any idea about what to do about it, and the more aware­ness we can raise, the bet­ter.’’

She said cre­at­ing the Bud­dies would be fun for the chil­dren and the mes­sages were dif­fer­ent for them, be­cause they can’t pre­vent child abuse.

‘‘The learn­ing for our chil­dren is about what a child needs to be safe, happy and healthy. Buddy Day shows our chil­dren that adults are here to care for them and love them.’’

Toko­roa Hospi­tal nurse Sian Van Heu­ven adopted 10 Bud­dies to be cared for by staff.

She found out about Buddy Day through the Waikato Dis­trict Health Board, and said she’s get­ting in­volved to help the emer­gency depart­ment be more child-friendly and to pro­mote chil­dren’s health and pro­tec­tion.

Mean­while, South Waikato char­ity Cher­ish our Chil­dren am­bas­sador Re­bekah Garner also adopted a Buddy and said she took her Buddy to work to visit some of her 600 col­leagues.

‘‘ Through my in­volve­ment with Cher­ish our Chil­dren, I’m very pas­sion­ate about work­ing with fam­i­lies to influence change, and Buddy Day is such a great way to get the community talk­ing about child abuse in a pos­i­tive, so­lu­tion­fo­cused way.’’

Toko­roa St John and Sal­va­tion Army also reg­is­tered to par­tic­i­pate in Buddy Day.

RAIS­ING AWARE­NESS: Bud­dies Goolah and Maddy stop in at the South Waikato News of­fice on

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