Spreading care and kindness through Better Buddies

29 Apr 2022

“Schools embraced the Better Buddies values of caring for others, friendliness, respect, valuing difference, including others and responsibility, and in many ways, schools have made the program their own.” – Judi Fallon, Program Manager

Protecting children isn’t always a top-down approach.

Enabling our children to grow up with a strong sense of self and a natural empathy for others is an investment in our future.

From that sentiment was born the wonderful Better Buddies program in 2000.

Since then, more than half a million students have embraced the program – and its loveable mascot Buddy Bear – learning self-confidence, to care for others and how to have respectful friendships.

A Foundation initiative, Better Buddies is an evidence-based framework incorporating components of research studies from various ‘buddy’ programs.

Through Better Buddies, primary school and secondary school students ‘buddy-up’ with younger children to ensure they feel safe and looked after. The secondary school children feel valued through this relationship.

Better Buddies was so successful, with so many schools adopting the program and making it their own, that the Foundation no longer needed to support the program – so in 2021, we officially handed it over to schools to run themselves and we remain incredibly proud that it continues to live on in school playgrounds.

The ever-huggable Buddy Bear is far from retirement as schools continue to operate Better Buddies with support from the Foundation – and with as many purple bears as they need.

The Foundation prides itself that our programs can be adapted to evolve to children and young people’s needs as the years go by.

25 years: We champion and strengthen the rights of children and young people through participation and practice in the communities where they live, learn and play.