Twelve months ago, I found myself in an audience surrounded by 300 young people at the Sydney Opera House. We were about to hear a personal story from one of Australia’s leading young social entrepreneurs, Elliot Costello. I’ve known Elliot for sometime and watched as his organisation YGAP has gone from strength to strength and changed the narrative about volunteering and charity for young people.
I was eager to hear from him about the lessons he had learnt and the challenges he’d had to overcome to build his organisation from a vision to one that has impacted over 30,000 young peoples lives through 6 initiatives. Instead of a story about himself and his mission, he shared a new story, a story about the realities that many children across the globe face; Thea’s Story.
Twelve months after being just another inspired face in a room Elliot called me. “Mate” he said, “Let’s talk.” We talked about Thea, the impact she and others like her had had on Elliot and what YGAP were going to do about it. Enter… The Polished Man.
Polished Man is an innovative fundraising campaign that aims to challenge men to end violence against children. We are calling on each Polished Man to paint one nail for two weeks to represent 1 in 5 children who experience violence globally. Unfortunately, 90% sexual violence against children and most physical violence against children is perpetrated by men. This global statistic is unfathomable but it really hit home for me when in Australia the statistic is 1 in 28 Aussie children will experience violence – that was my High School math class, or my science class or even my bus trip to and from school each day.
In August, I became a proud Polished Man Ambassador, along with men from various walks of life. From AFL legends, emerging Rugby Union stars to radio personalities and musicians – we came together to say, “it is time to stand up and not just stand by” when it comes to ending violence against children.
I put it to you…
Raise the conversation about how men can help end violence against children. There exists a code of silence around violence in our communities – only speaking up can break this silence.
I’m proud to be an Ambassador for such an important cause and the great work that YGAP does across Ghana, Rwanda, Malawi, Bangladesh, Cambodia and Australia! Money raised by the Polished Man Campaign will be invested in local organisations that work daily with children and families affected by violence.