Buddies bring awareness
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