AS part of Child Protection Week, the Bravehearts Educational Team was in the Shoalhaven staging a number of shows with the organisation’s mascot Ditto in schools, day care centres and preschools.
To coincide with the program the Shoalhaven Bravehearts group presented a number of schools with an innovative new resource.
Ditto In A Box is an extension of the live program run in schools by the Bravehearts Educational Team of presenters.
The resource allows teachers to partake in the program on a regular basis.
One school that took part in the Bravehearts Educational Team visit was Bomaderry Public School, with students from kindergarten to year 2 being shown how to stay safe.
Chairman of the Shoalhaven Bravehearts and major sponsor of the local organisation Ian Strathie said he would like to see the Ditto program expand even further.
“We are really looking to get all local schools involved in the program that provides children with the skills to recognise what child abuse is and what to do if they think they might be being abused,” he said.
“A simple message of understanding of what feeling safe is and what feeling unsafe is. That it is OK to say no and to report anything they might be worried about.”
Mr Strathie said the Shoalhaven group, which is about eight members strong, had raised money to enable a Ditto In A Box resource to be presented to each and every school in the Shoalhaven.
“So far we have presented at least a third of local schools with this valuable resource,” he said.
“Ideally we would love to see every school involved and take part in the program. We also want to get the schools’ P and C associations involved, let them see the program and then hopefully they may even fund the purchase of more such resource boxes for their schools.
“We want the Bravehearts program to be a continual part of the school curriculum, something that teachers can use regularly, rather than just being a one off activity.”
Mr Strathie said if he could convince schools’ P and Cs to buy more resource boxes, he would then like to take the program further and approach the many hotels and clubs in the area to help fund more visits to the Shoalhaven by the Bravehearts Educational Teams so they could visit more schools.
“It costs around $12 per child to bring the educators to our area and support from major organisations like local clubs would certainly help in funding these programs,” he said.
While the local committee is working tirelessly towards that goal, Mr Strathie said ideally they would like to form a local management committee to oversee the schools program.
“We are looking for people suitably qualified, who believe they could help children through this program,” he said.
If anyone is interested they can contact Bravehearts Shoalhaven regional co-ordinator Wendy Woodward on 0417 061 316.