Buddy Bear is a friendly bear and doesn’t like bullying. His box of activities and games are a resource to advice on what to do when you’re being bullied. So far Buddy boxes have been distributed to thirty Irish Red Cross branches to help educate children about bullying.

An anti-bullying campaign was started after a motion passed at the 2011 National Youth Form. Youth members decided that they wanted to do something about bullying and that IRCY members could help people who were dealing with it on a daily basis. After the forum, a call was put out to create an anti-bullying sub-group.

The sub-group decided to have a competition within the IRCY to ask members to come up with a slogan for the anti-bullying campaign. They choose Don’t be a bully be a buddy as the wining slogan. They felt it represented what they wanted to get across – that we all have the power to make a choice about the way we treat people. Do we want to hurt them or do we want to be their friend.

The Irish Red Cross Youth Bandon branch received Buddy in May and was introduced to our Teddy Bears and also our Cadet group. We talked about how to recognise a bully and that they have to tell an adult that they trust. Needless to say, Buddy is adored by all the kids.

One of our members in the Teddy Bear group get to take home Buddy every week together with Buddy’s journal. As Buddy does not like bullying and loves helping people, they are encouraged to write in the journal on how they helped others together with Buddy. They can write as much or as little as they want and to draw pictures or stick photographs in his journal.

We felt Buddy was getting a little bit lonely so we decided to introduce two new Buddy bears to the group. The kids named one ‘Buzzy’ and the other one ‘Bunny’. So Buddy, Buzzy and Bunny get to go home with three members each week!

The journal entries are shared with the group when Buddy, Buzzy and Bunny return and this helps us to reinforce the slogan “Don’t be a bully, be a buddy!” every week.

Thanks Caryn and the Bandon youth leaders and members for doing fantastic work. 

For more information of the Irish Red Cross Youth and the Buddy Boxes, please email youth@redcross.ie or phone 01 642 4600.