New Zealand: Did you know...JAWS employees become Buddy Carers for a day?
Last Updated: 20 November 2012

to help raise awareness about child abuse

Staff numbers at James & Wells Intellectual Property's Hamilton office swelled last Friday when 15 employees adopted a Buddy as part of the annual 'Buddy Day' appeal.

Buddy Day is held in the Waikato region and is a fun day with a serious message to raise awareness about child abuse.

Those who took part carried around a child-sized cardboard cut-out for the day, which acted as a visual reminder and got people talking about keeping kids safe in Kiwi communities.

Before their day out in the city, 335 Buddies were dressed, decorated and given a name and story by thousands of school children around the region. The decorating part of Buddy Day serves as a chance to chat with local schoolchildren about what it means to be happy, healthy and have a sense of belonging.

This was the second year JAWS' Hamilton staff took part in Buddy Day; making sure their buddies were involved in all facets of the firm's daily activities, including client meetings and going out for lunch.

The Buddy Carers could also share news and photos of what their buddy was up to on Facebook and Twitter.

"This is a great cause and one which captures the imaginations of JAWS employees," says associate Shona Foster. "It is something that all the staff can get involved in which helps to spread an important message and it was fantastic to see over half the office take part this year.

"James & Wells has always been an active contributor to the Waikato community through a range of activities. We work every day with innovators who are trying to create a brighter future, and Buddy Day is another way of doing the same thing. It also complements our firm's commitment to sustainable business practices through helping to build stronger communities."

This year there were 335 Buddies representing 20 per cent of the 1683 substantiated child abuse cases in the Waikato last year.

Next year organisers also hope to extend Buddy Day to the rest of New Zealand. As a first step toward creating a national awareness day, this year Buddy Day kits were available to order online, which saw communities across the country decorate and adopt Buddies on the day.

Buddy Day organisers thanked James & Wells for their support. "James & Wells has been a huge supporter of Buddy Day, and it was amazing to see so many staff in their Hamilton office caring for Buddies this year," said Buddy Day manager Janine Evans. "Through Buddy Day, Child Matters is working to spread the message that every adult has a responsibility to speak up for children and keep the children in our communities safe. James & Wells staff are excellent examples of how getting involved in a cause like Buddy Day can make a difference."

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