The NRL’s Tackle Bullying campaign that has reached 100,000 school children in the past fortnight through the game’s annual Community Carnival has been endorsed by leading anti-bullying groups in the US and Australia.
The National Bullying Prevention Centre in the US and the Alannah and Madeline Foundation in Melbourne contacted the NRL to endorse the campaign, which launched new educational resources aimed at children, teachers and parents to help empower students to cope with difficult social situations.
The endorsements come as the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys prepare to visit the Herbert River region as part of NRL Community Carnival on Thursday and Friday.
Co-captain Matt Scott along with fellow NRL squad members Ashton Sims, Glenn Hall, Ricky Thorby, Cameron King, Sam Hoare, John Asiata, Patrick Kaufusi, Matthew Wright, Scott Bolton and Ethan Lowe will visit more than a dozen schools with Cowboys and NRL development staff.
The Tackle Bullying initiative uses ambassadors and current stars from all 16 NRL clubs to empower children on how to “tackle bullying” through the delivery of resources developed by the NRL in conjunction with the Australian Catholic University (ACU).
In the US, the National Bullying Prevention Centre in Minnesota also uses events, activities, outreach and education to raise awareness of bullying prevention and last year over two million people in nearly 200 countries used their resources and web-based tools to take action.
The director of PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Centre, Julie Hertzog, said she was impressed by the NRL program.
“It is important that bullying is talked about beyond the educational setting, as it doesn’t just happen in schools,” Ms Hertzog said.
“It occurs in the community, through technology and on the field so when sporting teams take a lead in showing that the issue is important, it shows students that people in the community care and that they aren’t alone.”
Dr Judith Slocombe, CEO of The Alannah and Madeline Foundation, said the organisation had begun discussions with the NRL to work together after reading about the campaign in the Daily Telegraph.
“We are thrilled that the NRL is taking on such a big issue and to be working with an organisation that has such a big voice with children,’’ Dr Slocombe said.
“The impact the NRL and its players have as role models on young children is really powerful.”
The Alannah and Madeleine Foundation is a national charity protecting children from violence and its devastating effects, as well as playing an advocacy role and providing a voice against childhood violence.
NRL Community, Culture and Diversity Interim General Manager, Mark Deweerd, said: “To receive the endorsement and recognition we have from such well-respected organisations and experts in this area is a real honour and reinforces that our program does make a difference to people’s lives.
“We are very proud of our Tackle Bullying program and the feedback we have received since launching the first stage of it last year with our powerful DVD resource.”
• Give a hand to ‘Tackle Bullying' and WIN TICKETS to the Telstra Premiership Grand Final!: Pledge your support by posting a picture of your hand painted green or holding the NRL's green 'Tackle Bullying' hand on your social media networks including Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, using #TackleBullying. The NRL will choose the best four photos for a public vote at the end of March, and the most popular photo will win two tickets to the 2014 NRL Telstra Premiership Grand Final. Head to nrl.com/CommunityCarnival for more details and terms and conditions.
• Follow the NRL’s 2014 Community Carnival action: Follow all of the amazing community work achieved by players, ambassadors, children, teachers and parents throughout the Community Carnival by logging on to nrl.com/CommunityCarnival.
• Share your own stories and experiences with bullying: Visit the NRL and Daily Telegraph's Hope Wall at http://bit.ly/TackleBullying.