Sports club gives grant to keep kids safe

29 June 2015





Sunnybank Community and Sports Club has awarded Queensland-based charity Act for Kids with $8,600 grant to the deliver the Learn to be safe with Emmy and friends program to 250 children at local schools in the Sunnybank catchment area.

Learn to be safe with Emmy and friends is a protective behaviours program that teaches grade one children the different ways to keep safe. The program is taught in a fun and age appropriate way through weekly one-hour workshops over five to six weeks and is delivered by trained professionals and volunteers with the assistance and partnership of associated schools and teachers.

Sometimes it can be awkward to talk about feelings with children, “early warning signs” to alert them of when they are in danger, personal body space, public and private parts and the difference between safe and unsafe secrets. This interactive and activity-based program has been designed to engage children and teach them how to recognise when they feel safe and unsafe, to identify trusted adults in their own lives and what they can do when they feel unsafe.

Parents understand what their children are learning because they have interactive activities and colourful handouts to do together, which also helps parents develop clear expectations of how to talk about their child’s concerns and decide what to do next. Feedback from teachers, students and parents is very positive – kids retain the knowledge and feel empowered.

The program has been delivered to more than 6,000 grade one children in the Gold Coast and Townsville areas since 2009. Evaluation results show that there is long-term learning and retention of these important messages, and children who participate in the program are significantly better at identifying unsafe situations and getting help after they’ve gone through the program.

Michael Callaghan, General Manager at Sunnybank Community & Sports Club, said they are proud to be a member of a caring, inclusive community giving support to initiatives that bring measurable benefits to many people.

“Act for Kids’ Learn to be safe with Emmy and friends program fits in very well with the guidelines we have in place for our Community Grants Program. The Sunnybank Community & Sports Club looks forward to the results of our financial support that will assist Act for Kids to help educate 250 primary school kids within the Sunnybank community,” Michael Callaghan said.

Dr Katrina Lines, Executive Director of Programs, Research and Education, said
Act for Kids’ vision is for every child in Australia to be empowered with the knowledge, skills and confidence to speak up about their right to feel safe.

“It’s great to be able to introduce the program into schools in the Sunnybank region. There is nothing more important to us than teaching children they have the right to feel safe and protected by adults. When kids speak up if they experience harm, and an adult takes prompt action to protect them, then the long term consequences of abuse are reduced for kids.

“We are honoured to have the support of the Sunnybank Community & Sports Club and the program will go a long way to educating 250 local kids. We see this program being an essential part of a child’s education,” Dr Katrina Lines said.