Recently retired Toyota Cowboy Dallas Johnson will join with fellow NRL One Community ambassadors and current stars from all 16 NRL clubs in a rugby league initiative which aims to educate up to 300,000 school children in a month on how to tackle bullying.
Johnson will be part of a 24-man team led by NRL Tackle Bullying spokesmen Nathan Hindmarsh and Matt Cooper who will work alongside the clubs throughout the 2014 Community Carnival, which kicks off on Wednesday and runs through to the end of February.
The Cowboys, including co-captain Matt Scott, will focus on the Ingham region, visiting schools and community groups on 12-13 February to help spread the “Tackle Bullying” message.
The annual Community Carnival, which last year saw NRL players and ambassadors visit 203,400 children at 840 schools across 358 towns, is part of rugby league’s commitment to making a positive difference in the community and speaking out on issues of social significance.
This year the ambassadors and players will use new educational resources developed by the NRL in conjunction with the Australian Catholic University (ACU) and aimed at children, teachers and parents to help empower students to cope with difficult social situations.
All ambassadors have also received formal training by leading psychologist Dr Elizabeth Seely-Wait, who helped develop the resources, to be released this week for the first time.
“It’s time we saw bullying eradicated in Australian schools and all of the NRL’s One Community ambassadors are behind making this happen,” Johnson said.
“Bullying is not just a part of growing up and can have life-long consequences.
“We’ll be doing our best to get the message across that bullying of any kind is not acceptable.”
A key resource of the anti-bullying program, to be distributed throughout Community Carnival, is the NRL's “Tackle Bullying Green Hand”, a five-fingered action plan aimed at helping victims to cope and stand up to bullying.
The certified action plan involves the following proactive strategies:
1. Stand strong
2. Stay calm
3. Respond confidently
4. Walk away
Children are encouraged to contact the Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800 if they are finding it difficult to cope and need further support.