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Prime Minister visits Southwell School for Buddy Day

Prime Minister visits Southwell School for Buddy Day

This morning Southwell School was proud to host Rt. Hon. Prime Minister John Key to help raise awareness for the upcoming Buddy Day, on 13 November 2015.

His visit was in response to a touching letter written to him by Southwell student Jack Austin, who may well be upcoming awareness event's youngest and most passionate ambassador.

"All I want is to make everyone aware of how important kids are,'" Jack wrote in his letter to the Prime Minister.

"Kids matter. We are special, we are tomorrow's leaders and we need to be able to flourish to be the best we can be. And for me, that's what Buddy Day is about."

Southwell School in Hamilton joined children and youth from across Hamilton, Auckland, Tauranga, Ruapehu and Wellington last term to decorate life-size cardboard 'Buddies' in preparation for adults to adopt them on Buddy Day.

Buddies are used as a tool to start conversations and raise awareness about the role every adult plays in the lives of kids – from preventing child abuse to providing great environments where they can reach their full potential.

Jack addressed the audience of students, school staff and guests in a heartfelt speech.

"Every child matters. No matter where we live, what school we go to, how our families are made up, how much money we have or what culture we come from, we all deserve to be stars, to be loved, respected and given the things we need to be happy, healthy and successful."

"At Southwell, we believe whole-heartedly in Child Matters' mission, and our students really get in behind it too," said Southwell School principal Royce Helm.

Child Matters chief executive Anthea Simcock reflected on how in its origins, Buddy Day was created to challenge existing attitudes and behaviours towards the way we value our children, and shift us all towards a society that prioritises the wellbeing of children in everything we do.

"We want to encourage people to do what they can to impact children's lives in positive ways every day – whether it is making a change for one child, or doing something that will make a difference for many.

Following the assembly Mr. Key was taken on a tour of the school where he fielded a number of questions from students and staff and the visit concluded with the Prime Minister enjoying morning tea and a coffee from the newly opened Southwell Café '1911'.

"At Southwell, we believe whole-heartedly in the Buddy Day, and our students really get in behind it too.

"After five successful years, the fantastic campaign has brought to light the cause in a way that has proven extremely popular and widely reaching. They've been working hard over the last couple of months decorating their buddies, which will be cared for by members of the public on Buddy Day to get the message out in the community."

For more information on Buddy Day or to become a carer and help raise awareness of child abuse in New Zealand, visit www.buddyday.org.nz