Driving the Safety Message
Bruce & Denise Morcombe
Sunshine Coast, QLD
4X4 MU-X LS-T
Charitable work, education, towing
Wherever Denise and Bruce Morcombe go, they are greeted with open arms. Literally.
A walk down the street for them usually involves handshakes and warm embraces from strangers, requests for selfies, long chats, and invitations for coffee. Sometimes they even find little notes of thanks popped under their windscreen wiper blades.
The root of this affection is the important and moving work they do in the community as the founders of the Daniel Morcombe Foundation. They’re much loved for their tireless and selfless efforts, spreading their invaluable safety message to kids around the country.
According to Denise Morcombe, they have made many friends and colleagues along the way, and that the reaction from the children and parents they meet is the most rewarding thing of all.
“We get a lot of great feedback, and watching the kids absorb our safety message means a lot. It’s personal to us of course, but it’s bigger than that: this is about helping to give all kids the future they deserve,” she says.
Being mobile is vital for Denise and Bruce. They drive thousands of kilometres every year as they traverse the country visiting schools to spread their message of child safety. In the past year alone they have personally visited hundreds of schools, often in rural areas, towing a large trailer behind their MU-X filled to the brim with educational resources.
It’s hard work, and the travel can take a toll, but Bruce says they have dedicated their lives to getting the safety message out to the wider community.
“We’ve seen the best and worst that life can offer, and the work we do is all in memory of Daniel, who we lost 15 years ago,” says Bruce.
“Our core message to kids is ‘Recognise, React and Report’ and we talk to them about real strategies they can put in place to stay safe. We talk to them in their language and make it easy for them to understand, but we don’t shy away from the realities of life either.”
Today the Daniel Morcombe Foundation is evolving and growing. They have a wider team on board - including a CEO to help steer the ship - and they have embraced the new challenges of the digital age. Much of what they teach today involves how to stay safe online.
The foundation’s online education services are expanding and improving, with their website offering all manner of content such as interactive videos, teacher guides, templates, learning guides and more. There’s also an app available called ‘Help Me’ that sends out an emergency help message if kids find themselves in trouble, along with educational resources and trusted contact details.
Broadcasting live online is another important new strategy for the foundation. On the recent Day for Daniel over 3,200 primary schools participated live online, and the plan is to grow this number exponentially in the near future.
The foundation is poised to open an important new facility in early 2019. Named Daniel House, this purpose built property will provide much needed counselling services to kids who are victims of abuse and crime. There are private counselling rooms, group meeting rooms and even a chill out private atrium and garden in the middle of the building.
Daniel House will also be the new home for the foundation’s administrative team, providing them with the environment they need to perform to the best of their ability. Their new media room complete with video editing capability will be a vital resource in preparing content for their program.
With an eye to the future and a strong, emotional link to the past, the Daniel Morcombe Foundation is more determined than ever to continue its vital work. However, funding remains their greatest challenge, and Denise says their need for public donations is ongoing.
"The problem sadly isn’t going away, so we need all the help we can to educate our kids. We’re thankful for our generous corporate supporters, including Isuzu UTE, who provide us with our vehicles. We do hope the public don’t forget us though and understand that we always need assistance to do the work we do.” says Denise.
If you would like to help the Morcombe Foundation in their mission, you can pledge your support at danielmorcombe.com.au/donate.