By Angela Norval
As a mother Monica McFarlane is focused on being a role model for her children and making their lives that much easier however she can.
Already aware of the need for further education in schools, workplaces and more when it comes to bullying and violence, it was taken to another level for Monica when her seven-year-old daughter Winter was bullied, so she knew she needed to take action.
With two other school aged children, Monica knows the benefits of leading the way so she has signed up for this year’s Healthy Harold Hundred – a fun fitness and fundraising challenge tackling schoolyard bullying and violence.
Ms McFarlane said she knew this was a positive way to raise awareness and much needed funds for this valuable program.
“When you look at your children, you know that you want better for them and that means putting an end to bullying in whatever form it comes,” she said.
“I believe there isn’t enough education in regards to this issue, so need to continue to encourage and fun programs like Healthy Harold so that children are able to appreciate from a young age that it isn’t acceptable.
“I know that at times life can be challenging for children, but ultimately, they need to appreciate that there is a real connection between their words and someone’s pain and that bullying in any form is wrong.
“The Healthy Harold Hundred is a great way for us to get out and about as a family and raise awareness in our community through doorknocking in our neighbourhood for our fundraiser and also getting the kilometres up through riding bikes to school and so many other fun and healthy activities.”
Children’s health promotion charity Life Ed Queensland wants people of all ages to take on the challenge, joining the MOVEment to walk, run or ride 100Ks throughout the month of June to raise money for Life Ed’s much-needed respectful relationships programs in schools.
Life Ed Queensland chief executive officer Michael Fawsitt said entrants and key event ambassadors would help spotlight a big community issue, with school bullying skyrocketing since the pandemic.
“Bullying affects one in four school children between years 4 and 9, and one in five children is cyber-bullied,” Mr Fawsitt said.
“Sadly, victims of bullying, violence and abuse are impacted physically, socially and emotionally; it can destroy a young person’s confidence and self-esteem and their desire to learn and go to school.
“Bullying isn’t just something we can dismiss as a rite of passage in the schoolyard.
“It’s absolutely vital that we continue to work with schools to educate children in an age-appropriate way about the various forms of bullying; cybersafety; and strategies to build positive relationships with their peers, family and friends.”
More than 400 Queenslanders have already registered for the Healthy Harold Hundred, including fitness mentors, parents, teachers and students, all keen to take a stand against bullying. Olympic gold medallist Brooke Hanson is one of the key ambassadors.
The 100-kilometre challenge works out to about 3.3Ks a day, but participants can nominate any distance whilst raising funds from their donor community, tracking their progress on an interactive personal dashboard.
The event starts on Wednesday 1 June and can be completed anywhere by individuals or teams.
Registration is free and there are prizes for entrants who meet fundraising targets.
To learn more, head to healthyharoldhundred.org.au