Stay Kind is an Australian registered company, set up by the Kelly family in January 2023 to ensure the lasting legacy of Thomas and Stuart Kelly through the advocacy of a social movement initiative that promotes harm reduction (from bullying, violence, hazing and suicide) through kindness. With an Australian population of 25 million, if each Australian did just one act of kindness each day of the year, this would equate to 9.1 billion acts of kindness - imagine!
Stay Kind was originally known as the “Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation” (TKYF) formed in 2013 following an unprovoked and violent attack on 18 year old Thomas, who was killed (brain dead) in a split second from a coward punch in July 2012. The Foundations aim back in 2013 was to reduce violence on the streets of Sydney’s CBD through a number of initiatives that were introduced including:
- Increased presence of surveillance CCTV cameras in Sydney to act as a deterrent to offenders.
- Initiation of Take Kare Safe Spaces in Sydney (The “Kare” is spelt with a “K” to reflect Thomas Kelly’s name: TK, which are volunteers were later to be known by on the streets).
- Introduction of a Victims Financial Hardship Program (initiated by TKYF through the then Attorney General’s Brad Hazzard and Gabrielle Upton of the New South Wales Government).
- Introduction of the one punch law with a mandatory minimum sentence of 8 years if convicted while being under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
- Introduction of the Sydney Lockout laws from February 2014 to January 2020.
- Amendment to allow NSW’s Victim Impact Statements to be submitted as evidence in sentencing of the offender. Previously this was no longer permitted, it was an opportunity to tell offenders and others in court how they have been affected by the crime.
- Amended laws to change alcohol / drug related (street) violence from a mitigating factor to half way to an aggravating factor. Domestic violence is still considered a mitigating factor, although we advocated for this to be changed at the time as well, it was rejected.
In July 2016, Stuart Kelly (Thomas’ younger brother, who was 14 years old when his brother was killed) took his own life also at the age of 18 from bullying over the lockout laws and one night at St Pauls College, University of Sydney.
Both Tom and Stu died in the same month – July 2012 and 2016. This led us to re-brand the Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation to “Stay Kind” in July of 2019 and launch a month of kindness to raise awareness, which is called “Kind July”.
The words “STay Kind” also embellished both of the boys initials.
You can listen to Alan Jones’ comments on Stuarts death here
The Kelly family, decided in July 2022, to close their beloved Stay Kind Not-for-Profit. However community outpouring led them to transition the charity to a company (TOMAST Kelly Pty Ltd) T/A Stay Kind to keep the two boys legacy alive and continue with Kind July each year.
Our vision and mission
With your help, we can achieve our vision to make Australia kinder so that we can reduce bullying, hazing, violence, self-harm and suicide among young Australians and the wider community.
We want to inspire every Australian to actively engage in simple daily acts of kindness.
We do this by promoting kindness as a value that should be embraced nationally as it is the true currency of humanity. Our national movement of kindness is inspired by our Kind July community awareness campaign, the month Thomas Kelly lost his life to violence and Stuart Kelly lost his life to suicide after being targeted by bullies.
Each year, schools, workplaces, and communities join us in encouraging simple acts of kindness during July which has long lasting benefits. We also collaborate with schools and workplaces to identify and implement solutions promoting and embedding kindness all year.
Stay Kind also continues to pursue evidence-based solutions that support innovative kindness strategies and actions that can change and save lives.
Between 2014 and July 2023 we initiated the Take Kare Safe Space program operating in the Sydney CBD every Friday and Saturday from 10.00pm till 4.00am. Teams of Ambassadors (largely volunteers) worked through the night to get young people home safely. We assisted over 73,000 people get home safely from a night out. We also opened a Take Kare Safe Space in Canberra, ACT and worked with The City of Westminster (a city and borough in Inner London) Soho to provide IP and our vast experience in setting up a Safe Space and operationally running it to ensure it is viable.
A two year evaluation by University of NSW lead by Prof. Anthony Shakeshaft from ‘National Drugs and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) conservatively estimates the benefits of the Take Kare Safe Space (TKSS) program from December 2014 to April 2019 at A$7.46 million. That benefit includes the value of serious harm averted and the value attached to lives saved through program interventions. The evaluation goes on to mention “As we consider what our post-COVID social world will look like, we have an opportunity to deliver services that make our cities safer and more inclusive. An example of how we might achieve this can be found in a Sydney harm-reduction service that has assisted tens of thousands of nightlife revellers who are vulnerable, in distress or at risk of harm since 2014.”