Cyber balloon race helps keep kids safe
Bravehearts will launch an innovative, eco-friendly cyber balloon race from Parliament House in Canberra to celebrate its 21st annual White Balloon Day on Friday September 8.
Computer-generated cyber balloons will ‘race’ against each other with the balloon movements being generated based on an algorithm using real-time weather conditions received from around 10,000 meteorological stations across the globe.
Adopted by Bravehearts in 1996, the humble white balloon has come to symbolise hope for survivors of child sexual assault, encouraging them to break the silence that so often surrounds this crime.
“White balloons are a symbol of hope to many, however, we recognise the damage that balloons can do to our environment, which is why this year’s campaign has been designed to minimise any potential damage,” says Hetty Johnston AM, founder and executive chair of Bravehearts.
“While Bravehearts has never endorsed the release of balloons, we do understand that any risk to environment must be considered, which is why we have developed this fantastic initiative.”
This year’s campaign has also been officially endorsed by Zoos Victoria’s ‘When Balloons Fly, Seabirds Die’ initiative for offering eco-friendly alternatives to using balloons outdoors to mark this important day.
Costing just $10 per balloon, participants in the Virtual Balloon Race are able to personalise their balloon by selecting the helium content, thickness of rubber and balloon shape in order to maximise their balloon’s performance. The balloons that travel the furthest over seven days will win the race and receive some exciting prizes.
This is the first time this technology has been used for a campaign of this size in Australia and is a simple and fun way for individuals and organisations to show their support for Aussie kids.
“It’s a great way for friends, families and work colleagues to come together to support this year’s White Balloon Day campaign in an interactive, fun and eco-friendly way,” says Hetty.
Money raised throughout the White Balloon Day campaign goes towards Bravehearts’ education initiatives and suite of training programs as well as specialist support for kids and their families who have been affected by the crime of child sexual assault.
Since its inception, White Balloon Day has helped to educate tens of thousands of school children across Australia about personal safety, with Bravehearts’ Ditto’s Keep Safe Adventure Show.
The five basic principles Ditto teaches children aged 3-8 are:
- To trust their feelings and to distinguish between ‘yes’ and ‘no’ feelings
- To say ‘no’ to adults if they feel unsafe or unsure
- That they own their bodies
- That nothing is so yucky that they can’t tell someone about it
- That if they feel unsafe or unsure to run and tell someone they trust
For further information and to buy a virtual balloon, please visit WhiteBalloonDay.com.au.