Program is helping the community
A “CRUCIAL” education program aimed at changing destructive drinking cultures on the Fraser Coast has been successfully delivered to more than 400 local teenagers and hundreds of Maryborough Correctional Centre prisoners.
The Self Preservation Program was launched in Brisbane in August and is the first of its kind in Australia – and Hervey Bay founder Dianne Ross said she could not be any happier with the reaction to the program so far.
“Of the 350 students who wrote comments about the program, 95 per cent of those said they were not privy to this form of information in the past,” she said.
“Surprisingly 89 per cent of the teachers, school nurses and other adults who took part in the program also had the same view.”
Ms Ross said the program was particularly relevant in Maryborough where underage drinking and violent street crime were issues.
“For example one of the demonstrations we have are giving the kids or prisoners a bottle of water and asking them to pour what they think is a standard drink.
“Most pour three times the level – so we are literally teaching them what a standard drink is.”
Ms Ross many of the prisoners who took part in the course had landed themselves in jail because of alcohol-related incidents.
“It stemmed from when they were young and often this program is too late for a lot of them,” she said. “But they’re always saying “I hope you’re putting this program into the schools”.
Ms Ross said that next year Harm Minimisation Strategic Committee, a charity organisation which included councillors, police, politicians and local business people, would focus on getting more schools on board to help spread the message.
“What we’re going to do is charge a really low rate so if the group doesn’t want to do their RSA (responsible service of alcohol) then they’ve got the information anyway,” she said.
Her vision is to launch the three-year program first to schools on the Fraser Coast and then in other regions.
“It couldn’t have been done without those who donated funds, volunteered as a guest speaker or the committee,” she said.