22. June 2019

HRH Crown Princess Mary joined 2,600 children on a fun run against bullying

“I am a good friend” was the message displayed on the backs of HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen and 2,006 children who ran against bullying in this year’s Free of Bullying Children’s Run in Copenhagen today. The run marks the fight against bullying and how important it is to maintain a concerted and preventive effort – already from a very young age.

We are most successful at preventing bullying when we proactively develop and support children’s communities and help them to be good school friends. This was the message that united 2,006 jubilant children and their parents today when they gathered in Fælledparken in Copenhagen for the 12th annual Free of Bullying Children’s Run organised by The Mary Foundation and Save the Children Denmark.

The children took part in the race in four groups, and both Crown Princess Mary and Save the Children Denmark’s new Secretary-General, Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen, were there to join the many children on the one kilometre run as the starting pistol fired. As soon as the first group of children reached the finishing line, Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen took charge of handing out medals to all the tenacious runners, while the Crown Princess headed straight back to the starting area so she could run again with the second group of children – and then with the third and the fourth groups as well.

This was the first time Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen participated in the Free of Bullying Children’s Run.

“I am overwhelmed by the amazing atmosphere that has permeated the entire day. Shining a light on positive relationships among children and doing it with children, and seeing them engage so enthusiastically in activities that are about tolerance, respect and care for each other has been a wonderful and life-affirming experience for me,” said Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen.

In addition to running against bullying, the children participated in various activities based on the four core values of the Free of Bullying anti-bullying programme: tolerance, respect, care and courage. Through a series of fun games in the park, the children practised being brave and respectful and seeing each other’s differences as a strength; and in a quiet corner, they could show one another care by participating in Free of Bullying massage activities.

“This year, we have placed an even greater emphasis on the four values of Free of Bullying, since they are central to the work in cultivating inclusive children’s communities where everyone is welcome. Parents are important role models in children’s social lives, and many of them look for practical tools to help them support children’s communities. That’s why we have also provided good advice to parents on how they can advocate for the four values at home,”

explained Helle Østergaard, Director of The Mary Foundation.

The annual Free of Bullying Children’s Run has been taking place in both Aarhus and Copenhagen since 2008. On 25 May 2019, 542 children ran against bullying in Mindeparken in Aarhus.

The run is organised in collaboration with Sparta. DHL and WHEAT are sponsors of the event.

Free of Bullying …:

  • Was launched in 2007 by The Mary Foundation and Save the Children Denmark and remains jointly operated.
  • Has been proven to have a positive impact.
  • Requires that a minimum of two professionals from each institution/school have participated in a basic course.
  • Has been developed for professionals and can only be purchased by schools / after school clubs.
  • Is non-profit and The Mary Foundation and Save the Children Denmark do not derive any profit from the sale of materials and/or courses.
  • Receives financial aid from Ole Kirk’s Foundation.
  • Is currently adopted by approx. 50 per cent of Danish preschools and approx. 40% of all Danish schools and after school clubs.

For more information, visit freeofbullying.com

Authored by:

Timian Bille Bach Landgraff

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