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Minister announces funding for Keep em Safe

Written By: Helen Torpy on July 24, 2014 No Comment

Keep em safe is extremely proud to announce that on the 22nd of July 2014, the Minister for Crime Prevention- Edward O’Donohue announced $125,000 funding for Communities That Care to “build on the Keep em Safe campaign in Geelong”

Minister for Justice Edward O’Donohue announced funding to Communities That Care with Keep Em Safe as the lead agency to continue the Smart Generation project to prevent early adolescent alcohol use with Communities That Care, Deakin University and Lara Secondary College.

The Minister made the announcement at a formal ceremony held at Lara Secondary College.

Keep em safe in 2012 rolled out the Communities That Care -Smart Generation Project in conjunction with the Brains for Life alcohol awareness and education school curriculum.

Mr Don O ‘Donohue said the funding will “build on the work done through the Keep em Safe campaign in Geelong”.

President of Keep em Safe Helen Torpy said in her speech:

“As president of Keep em safe I am extremely proud and honoured to accept the funding to be able to continue our work with CTC, Lara Secondary College and the Smart Generation project. I would like to extend appreciation to Professor John Toumborou, CTC,,and Deakin University who we have been privileged to work with. Their dedication and expertise towards the health and wellbeing of young people and their ground breaking research and projects with the Smart Generation have helped change policy and community attitudes surrounding alcohol. Sincere gratitude to Lara Secondary College,  Principal Lyn Boyle and the Keep em safe committee members for their continued support and long involvement with Keep em safe and supporting the organisation in being incorporated and being based at LSC. Keep em safes beginnings were in 2006 …. As a single mother trying to navigate the intense peer group pressure and disturbing changes I witnessed to the teenage drinking culture. With no education or support for young people and parents surrounding underage drinking and a community and indeed a Nation who were unaware and at times ignorant of the risks alcohol posed to our young generation. I certainly felt compelled to campaign for changes, campaigning for 6 years with the ADF and Leigh Clark Foundation to introduce laws to protect young people from unauthorised supply of alcohol in a private premise. These laws were passed in 2011. As a parent of teenagers I know only too well how early adolescent alcohol use can lead to a wide range of health and social problems and how easily young people can cross the line from the shores of safety into the realms of negative peer group pressure and early alcohol use, resulting in risky and delinquent behaviour, low school commitment, dropout, loss of motivation, missed dreams and the subsequent downward spiral this can take them on their journey to adulthood. I had a vision that one day we would have a program in schools – a curriculum surrounding underage drinking and that every student and parent had the opportunity to participate and reap the benefits of the knowledge as well as engagement and support from peers, school, local community and government. In 2012 that vision started emerging with Keep em safe and CTC Smart Generation project being rolled out at Lara Secondary. LSC and Keep em Safe Incorporated the Smart Generation project into a new alcohol awareness and education school curriculum called Brains for Life- Smart Generation “THINK BEFORE YOU GIVE EM A DRINK” .emerged as our slogan and a prominent road sign with our key messages from the Smart Generation project displayed to parents, students and the community. Our end of the Smart generation- Brains for Life project was a big success with attendance of community members and approx 200 students and parents. When I was speaking at this event, the biggest reward was the reaction and response from the students, parents and teachers. The overwhelming success of the program and community connection, appreciation and motivation echoed through the obvious look of pride and relief that were on all of their faces and the sense of community support that flooded the room I knew from that moment that we were on to something big, something ground-breaking, that special recipe that creates harmony, well -being and connectivity. Now all we needed was the resouses and further support to sustain and to continue our work and to create this safe and inclusive community base for young people. Early adolescent alcohol use is a major contributor to risky and unhealthy behaviours in young people also leading to a range of health and social problems. Our young people need the continuing support of this program in schools…,they certainly are willing and most importantly they deserve a community driven approach with support on all local, state and Federal government levels.   Thanks to Minister O ‘Donoghue, the Department of Justice and Communities that care, today that vision is becoming more of a reality.   I want to assure you that the funds assigned to Keep em Safe will most certainly have a big impact on the health and wellbeing of young people in this community and the investment, concern and interest that you have offered will be accepted with sincere gratitude from students, parents and community members. We are guaranteed to reap rewards for our school community as well as keep our young people safe from alcohol related harm.


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