Troubled teens are not alone
JAMIE Bell is living testament to the success of the Teen Challenge Toowoomba young men's residential treatment program.
He was one of the speakers at the Warwick Churches Together Who Cares evening on Sunday, which looked at the role played by Teen Challenge, Rosies and school chaplains in assisting young people.
Jamie went to school in Sydney and told an audience of 100 that he had started drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana at the age of 14.
He was on drugs and alcohol for eight years and lived in many different homes, with his mother, father, uncle and friends.
But due to problems associated with his addiction, he was “kicked out” of each home.
“I was not listening,” he said.
Jamie lists peer pressure and experimentation as factors in hitting the alcohol and drug scene.
After being in Sydney and country New South Wales, his mother agreed to give Jamie another chance to live with her in Brisbane on the basis he went to Teen Challenge.
The Teen Challenge young men's residential treatment facility is in Toowoomba, and Jamie went into a 12-month program.
“I was in the program for 17 months,” he said.
“I found the grace of God.”
Abuse of drugs and alcohol are now in the past, and Jamie has done an internship at Teen Challenge and worked as a volunteer for the organisation.
He often accompanies Teen Challenge See Her Live Free campaign co-ordinator Julie Flatt in outreaching to school, youth and community groups.
She is currently co-ordinating the construction of a young women's residential treatment centre in Toowoomba, as well as raising much-needed funds to make the project a reality.
Those attending the Who Cares night gave $450 to both the young women's residential treatment facility and the school chaplaincy service.
The role of school chaplains in Warwick was highlighted by chaplains Marie Brennan (Warwick High) and Donna Angell (Warwick East).
Mrs Angell said successful breakfast clubs were run at Warwick East and Warwick West state schools.
“The aim is to provide some good nutrition and opportunities for children to socialise across year levels,” Mrs Angell said.
“Any money donated to school chaplaincy will go towards supporting breakfast clubs and other personal growth programs which add value and worth to the life of a student.”
Rosies volunteer Sharon Kelly said the van was out on the street in Leslie Park just south of the band rotunda each Friday night between 10pm and 1am.
“We have 20 volunteers who help out once a month,” Ms Kelly said.
“Fifty youth visited the van on Friday night
“If we can attract more volunteers, we will have the van on the streets each Friday and Saturday night.
“More young people are likely to be on the streets at night once the weather gets warmer.”
Prospective Rosies volunteers welcome to call Vince Hemmings on 46615528 or Dave Carr on 46614184.