I've spoken openly and often about the need to educate kids and our community to understand the real facts on what drugs to our bodies and brains. To cut through the "softer" approach of waiting for there to be a problem and be very clear with people about the real life effects, drugs such as ICE and marijuana are having on our families, loved ones and communities.
If people understand exactly what they are, what they can do to us and the reasons why many people enter drug use, it breaks down the barriers and leads to better choices. This approach also allows the community to unite, to help each other and have open and understanding conversations with the intent to make a difference.
The recent National ICE Taskforce research, is a tool that I believe is opening the doors for our communities and governments to do just that. To take a deeper look, consult with the coal face and see the real picture not just the socially palatable, politically correct one.
Teen Challenge, are very passionate about prevention and building fences for young people to be turned away from the top of the cliff. For years now, Teen Challenge graduates have stood before thousands of Australian school children and told their personal story. Their fall from grace into addiction, their battles and their fight to gain their freedom from addiction, to now live a life successfully and with significance, to turn many young people away from the path they personally chose. This is a very powerful deterrent - peer teaching peer.
Teen Challenge Tasmania, have been working with students within North Tasmanian High Schools through our Connections Mentoring program, placing a significant, positive person with a young person that needs support to make better choices in their lives. Sometimes the results are immediate, other times it takes a long time to help them build up their self-worth and believe in themselves.
But one thing is for sure there is no such thing as a BAD KID, they are just kids, they need direction, they need love, time and they need education in life, as much as academic education. Provide them these things and look out, because they will transform before your eyes and often they bring their friends right alongside them too.
So with our experience in mentoring kids and working with those in addiction we have developed our "Not Even Once" Drug Prevention Projects which begin rollout Stage 1 from 23rd November this year and we are very excited.
Our approach is to educate students in highly engaging, multi media, School Seminars, on the What - effects Drugs such as ICE, Ecstasy, Speed, Marijuana, Alcohol etc have on our brains and bodies, How can they impact your future, Why people take drugs - the causation issues, Equip them with how to decline, to name a few and hear from Teen Challenge graduates, personal real life stories of addiction. Plenty of facts upon which they can make educated choices into the future.
At the same time we will be conducting Community Seminars for parents, teachers and community members and take them in a deeper immersion than the kids. In addition to learning the facts, also look at the signs they can look for and real strategies they can take, including building resilience in young people. We want to equip people to support our young people and help them in their choices into the future.
Future stages will include more intensive programs in schools, building resilience and working with kids to create initiatives within their schools and communities, to enable them to become positive change agents within their peer groups, families and community. Young people are powerful, they can turn the tide with our support and ensure future generations understand that to "Not Even Once" touch drugs is a very real and acceptable option and as a society we can all be cool with that.
It is our vision that Teen Challenge Australia, specialists in Drug Demand Reduction (prevention) and Drug Rehabilitation, will roll the "Not Even Once" Project out Nationally, to reach every student, parent, teacher and community member in Australia. We must be fence builders for our young people and turn away a generation from the top of the cliff of drug use and stop being a nation with an ambulance mentality - its too late at the bottom of the cliff.
I'm obviously up to my eyeballs in organising and fundraising for these events right now and further details on the public community seminars are below, however I was pleasantly rewarded with reading a recent ICE Report, the Federal MP, Alan Tudge, of Knox, Victoria developed after consulting with specialists and his constituents and discovered we're on the same page. The common thread is educate and support kids and parents with the facts and strategies. Then as a whole of house approach government, community and individuals we can make a very real difference and turn the tide on this epidemic.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, if you would like to support through our fundraising efforts to reach kids, become a mentor, volunteer your time, attend a Community seminar, ask any questions or if the "Not Even Once" Project can come to your school or community then please fill the form below.
Help us raise funds to reach Tassie Kids and keep them off ICE. Fundraising efforts to date from MYCAUSE, Bunnings BBQ's, Speaking engagements, Private donations and Grant from Launceston City Council have enabled us to reach 1215 kids but we've got a way to go yet.
Want to help Volunteer, learn more, ask for "Not Even Once" in your school or community? Then contact me below: