Better Buddies make happier schools

Socceroos players support the Better Buddies Framework anti-bullying program.

Four Socceroos players Scott Chipperfield, Michael Beauchamp, Mile Sterjovski and Richard Garcia, made 150 school children-s day, when they helped support the Better Buddies Framework, which is the one of the key anti-bullying programs of The Alannah and Madeline Foundation.

Football Federation Australia sponsor National Australia Bank (NAB) is a major partner of the initiative, designed to create friendly and caring primary school communities where bullying is reduced.

The four players answered questions and joined in a series of activities with kindergarten and their year 4 buddies from the Santa Maria del Monte Primary Campus, while in camp preparing for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ qualifier.

Chipperfield, a father of two, with one having started school in Switzerland this year, was very supportive of the initiative and the concept of the Better Buddies system.

“It-s great, when young kids first come to school they are a little bit scared and a little shy, but with the big kids (buddy) around, they probably feel a little more comfortable in activities like this and we-ve thoroughly enjoyed it today.

“I think if kids are bullied they need to go talk to their parents or a teacher straight away. With me being a father, if my child was being bullied I would want to know straight away, because it can affect a kids life and they can be depressed and hate coming to school.”

The Wollongong native, remembers his schooling fondly and knows how football played an important part in his fond memories growing up.

“When I was younger and growing up, football was a big part of schooling for me. We always arrived at school an hour early and we had 40-50 kids all playing football before school and that was important that the kids can mingle, have some outdoor fun and enjoy school when they are there.”

200 schools implemented the Better Buddies Framework program in 2008, with another 200 schools around Australia set to follow suit in 2009. For more information on the Better Buddies Framework, go to