Part of a much larger push to combat bullying and create a cultural change in the schoolyard and online, the Dolly’s Dream and Smiggle Choose Kindness campaign works at a grassroots level to remind kids to look out for their friends and classmates.
When they head back to school for 2023, Smiggle is calling on its thousands of fans across the country to always choose kindness at school and at home, and to speak to a trusted adult if they see or experience anything that makes them think someone is being bullied.
To help spread the message far and wide, Dolly’s Dream and Smiggle have created the Choose Kindness keyring to be sold to raise funds for Dolly’s Dream as part of their support of young people and their families.
The Choose Kindness keyrings are just $2 and available from Smiggle stores all over Australia and online from Wednesday 11th January, with the proceeds from the keyrings donated to Dolly’s Dream for its work in changing the culture of bullying and addressing its impact through education and direct support.
Kate Everett, Dolly’s mum and co-founder of Dolly’s Dream said she’s asking Australian children to display their keyrings on their bags as a real reminder to be kind throughout the year.
“The hope is that sharing this message, at this time of year, reminds all children to look after their friends and classmates, to be kind and to speak even if their voice shakes,” Kate said.
“Our partnership with Smiggle is so helpful. With their thousands of fans around the country, Smiggle allows us to talk directly to Australian kids with this really important message.”
Everyone is invited into a Smiggle store to take the Kindness Pledge and receive a free Kindness Certificate, an element of the campaign designed to help families start a conversation about kindness and bullying.
Dr Charlotte Keating, psychologist and Advisory Board member for Dolly’s Dream, said the beginning of the school year is ideal for gently opening up the lines of conversation with your children to encourage trust and confidence.
“One in five young Australians report being socially excluded, threatened or abused online. Being able to turn to a parent or trusted adult is an important step in addressing bullying or abuse,” Dr Keating said.
“With so many young people experiencing bullying and abuse, it’s vital that they can feel confident that their parents, and other trusted adults, will listen calmly, without judgement, and have the knowledge and tools to support them in addressing bullying.”
Proceeds from this year’s Choose Kindness campaign will help Dolly’s Dream support kids, their families and communities. Following a large surge in demand for its services in the past 12 months, Dolly’s Dream is expanding two of its most important programs: its workshops and Support Line.
Dolly’s Dream General Manager, Stephen Bendle, said the Dolly’s Dream Support Line is free for parents, carers, grandparents, and children who need help around bullying and associated mental health issues.
“There are wait times of up to 12 months for some country kids to see a counsellor and that is just too long. We offer a free, ongoing counselling service for anyone who needs it which is now available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, Stephen said.
“The demand for Dolly’s Dream workshops on anti-bullying and cyber safety have also reached an all-time high. Delivered in schools, community groups and to parents, these workshops offer a way adults can support their young people in dealing with bullying issues. We are also funding many of these workshops in rural and regional areas where schools may not have funding available.”
Families around Australia helped Smiggle raise over $50,000 for Dolly’s Dream last year when the keyrings were first used as a fundraiser. The Smiggle crew are hoping to top this in 2023 with the support of their dedicated fans and their families.
You can purchase a keyring here.
If you are worried about a young person in your life, you can chat to a trained counsellor on the Dolly’s Dream Support Line on 0488 881 033
For more information about Dolly’s Dream, visit dollysdream.org.au