For many years Buddy System leader Sue Malcolm was a Youth and Family Worker at a Vancouver Inner City School, where she taught social skills and counseled children and parents. As a musician and singer, she has used music as part of her work with kids for over twenty years. She believes music is a powerful tool.
Not only is music an effective way to help reinforce a message, but it provides that emotional connection that is so important. Sue found it a good way to communicate and develop a relationship with children. Every teacher knows about those days when you just need something to get the kids focused, settled and back on track. A little singing can do the trick. As well, teachers know how effective music is in helping kids remember lessons. Just think of the ABC song……..
In 1995 Sue created The Buddy System and started performing in schools, as a way to combine her love of music and her work with kids. She’d been teaching the Second Step program, an excellent violence-prevention curriculum that is widely used in British Columbia schools. The program includes three songs, all of which became popular with Sue’s students. These songs were the starting point for The Buddy System, with many more to come, including Sue’s originals.
The presentation was carefully planned to cover the major goals of the BC Social Responsibility Curriculum; areas such as Identifying and Communicating Feelings; Developing Empathy For Others; Solving Problems Using a Step-by-Step Method; Anger Management; Personal Safety and Self-Esteem.
The Buddy System initially started with a K-3 show and has now expanded to K-5. With the addition of Keith Bennett and Paul Bergman to the group, they are able to produce a more contemporary sound using electric guitar, drums and bass.
Their CD ‘Work It Out’ was recorded in 2000. An accompanying workbook was produced at the same time.
The Buddy System has made appearances at the Vancouver International Children’s Festival in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2001. They have entertained children at literally hundreds of schools in the Greater Vancouver area and travelled all over BC with their musical message of peace education.