Alannah and Madeline Mikac were just six and three years old when they lost their lives, alongside their mother, at the 1996 Port Arthur Massacre. Their father Walter worked tirelessly to establish the Alannah & Madeline Foundation the following year, spurred on by the belief that all children should have a safe and happy childhood, free from any form of violence.
Here at Eastland, we couldn’t agree more – that’s why since 2017 we’ve made it our mission to support this remarkable charity by raising awareness of their endeavours through a variety of centre events.
As of October 2019, we are proud to have donated over $100,000 in support of the foundation’s prevention and care program, as well as their other worthy initiatives that include:
Tens of thousands of vulnerable children are placed in refuges and emergency foster care each year – a process that can often be swift and traumatic, leaving them with little more than the clothes on their back.
That’s where the Buddy Bag comes in. The brightly-coloured backpacks are full of essential items including toiletries and underwear, as well as some home comforts like a book and the all-important teddy bear.
The Eastland centre management teams are proud to take part in a Buddy Bag packing session every year, because we know these bags are so much more than a material aid – they are one of the vital first steps to recovery and help restore a sense of safety and security to children when they need it most.
Better Buddies program
One in four Australian children report being bullied in the past 12 months – an act that can seriously impact children’s self-esteem, behaviour and their ability to concentrate and perform at school.
To address bullying behaviour, the Better Buddies program pairs students in their first year of primary school with an older buddy. The framework not only teaches students the value of caring for others, friendliness and respect, but also aims to build students’ self-esteem, connectedness, social skills, trust and sense of community.
eSmart Digital Licences and Libraries
The Alannah & Madeline Foundation is also striving to improve the lives of children everywhere through eSmart – a long-term change program designed to educate, track, monitor and prevent both bullying and cyberbullying.
Since 2017 the foundation has issued 43 eSmart Digital Licences to schools and licenced 17 eSmart Digital Libraries. Both opportunities seek to arm principals, teachers, students and public library users with the tools they need to safely navigate cyber platforms, while promoting responsible use of technology.
The ultimate goal? To create an eSmart Australia, where everyone knows how to be smart, safe and responsible online.
With your help, we can continue to support and protect our children from both cyberbullying in the digital world, and physical violence in homes and schools.