Essendon Football Club is pleased to announce a new community program initiative combining the arts, education and sport. The Make a Stand against Bullying program is a partnership between the Bombers, Bully Zero Australia Foundation and ‘Connected – The Cyberbullying Musical’ with the support of the PMF Foundation and the Bill Hutchison Foundation.
The Club’s announcement coincides with today’s acknowledgement of National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence, in supporting its ongoing charity partnership with Bully Zero Australia Foundation.
Essendon Football Club CEO, Xavier Campbell, said the new innovative partnership was important to ensure we all uphold our obligation to treat others with respect on and off-line.
“This format of combining the arts, education and sport is unique approach and not something we have seen before in sport,” Campbell said.
“The issue of bullying and cyber bullying is serious and we believe this innovative program will have a positive impact on both students and parents.
“It has great appeal across multiple platforms for a wide audience and we’re really pleased to partner with such wonderful organisations to facilitate this important conversation and raise awareness about a growing problem in society.
“This program would not have been possible without the generous support of the PMF Foundation who have funded the program to ensure it is delivered to schools at no cost.
The program will run for six weeks during term 2 on the school calendar this year and will be delivered to 50 schools in the Club’s local north-west corridor of Melbourne from May 2, 2016.
‘Connected – The Cyberbullying Musical’ was written by former teacher, Craig Christie, and produced in an hour long format for Victorian school audiences – written specifically for Grades 5 to 10 – by ORIGIN on Stage. Following the performance, children are encouraged to participate in an hour-long classroom discussion about the topics it covers and how to deal with instances of online bullying.
Facilitators of the program will include players from Essendon Football Club, Bully Zero Australia Foundation ambassadors, Australian Paralympic athletes and members of the Musical’s cast.
Writer, Craig Christie said the Musical would highlight how small and seemingly frivolous actions can translate into devastating effects on those who are cyber-bullied.
“Ultimately this play seeks to generate discussion about the social mores of our dynamic and exciting digital world. ‘Connected – The Cyberbullying Musical’ is something we hope will be a memorable and powerful method to raise awareness in the school environment and educate Australia’s youth about being cyber smart and staying safe online.”
‘Connected – The Cyberbullying Musical’ is an exciting and engaging piece of musical theatre that uses an energetic, fast-paced narrative and an edgy, contemporary soundtrack to demonstrate in live action what the consequences of cyberbullying can be.
Bully Zero Australia Foundation CEO, Oscar Yildiz, thanked the Essendon Football Club in particular for its continued support and assistance to launch the new education program.
“Bullying in Australia is a serious problem, 1 in 5 people experience some form of bullying and it has a profound effect on all aspects of a person's health, productivity, family life, peace of mind and can lead to severe psychological and emotional problems,” Yildiz said.
“The aim of this program is to reach and educate more than 5,000 young Australians about the effects of bullying and we are really hopeful that we can achieve this.”
Essendon Football Club will be hosting a major launch for this program, including a performance by the cast of the musical during late April 2016 – further details will be communicated in due course.
Bullying facts & statistics:
- It's reported that bullying currently effects 1 in 5 Australians, that is more than 6 million of us and the cost to the Australian economy is more than 35 billion dollars a year.
- More than 2,517 Australians committed suicide and bullying was attributed as a factor in some of these cases.
Many victims suffer devastating consequences from bullying, including mental illness, isolation, poor self confidence and in some cases suicide.