A letter of thanks

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                          Kids Help Line receives over 200                         One of the latest services to be offered by BoysTown
                          calls a month from young people                          – thanks to the generosity of our donors and lottery
                          wanting to share good news,                              ticket buyers – is Parmenie. This is named after the                                                                                                                              SPRING 2004
                          positive events or reflect positively                    French town where our founder St John Baptist De La                                                                                                                               PO Box 2000, Milton Q 4064
                          on counselling they have received                                                                                                        N E W S L E T T E R O F B O Y S T O W N FA M I LY A N D Y O U T H S E R V I C E S
                                                                                   Salle sought sanctuary during his life. Our Australian                                                                                                                             Telephone (07) 3368 3399
                          in the past.                                             Parmenie is a safe haven for young women who have
                                                                                   been the victims of domestic violence and also for
    ‘Caller wanted to thank a female counsellor for helping her with
    ways to address a bullying problem. It worked! Thank you!’
    – 10 year old
                                                                                   their children. Here we offer the young women
                                                                                   experiences that instil hope in them – hope for
                                                                                                                                                                                             The power of many...
                                                                                   a future. In this edition, we share with you an
    ‘Called to say that things had improved with her family
                                                                                   unsolicited message from one of the young women                                                                  Friends of BoysTown, stand proud! With your support, Kids Help Line
    relationships since we spoke yesterday and wanted to share that
                                                                                   who, for several months, called BoysTown’s Parmenie                                                                continues to reach out to more and more young Australians in need.
    with me’ – 11 year old
                                                                                   her home.
    ‘Wanted to thank me for helping her with her problems with
                                                                                                                                                                                                         Last year alone, our counsellors answered 523,825 calls from the kids of
    friends’ – 11 year old                                                         When I first arrived here, was a bit hesitant, scared, nervous,
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Australia. That represents a six percent increase in response, compared
    ‘Called to say thanks for listening to her the other day. She was              anxious and all the rest of it. I guess not knowing where my
    having problems with her parents; felt they weren’t listening to               children and I would end up. But as we settled in and got to                                                            with the previous year. Thanks to you and your fellow BoysTown
    her and not treating her and her brothers equally. Through our                 know everyone here, it just made things a little easier for myself                                                      supporters, 47% of all calls to Kids Help Line are now answered.
    conversation the other day she was able to talk this stuff through             and the children. And I have got nothing but kind words to say
    with mum and dad’ – 12 year old                                                about the three main people that helped me while I stayed here                                                           Around half of those calls are from rural and remote areas, and the
    ‘Caller was ringing to let me know that some anti-bullying                     at the shelter.                                                                                                          majority of our young callers phone to talk through issues about
    strategies had worked…caller was really happy that the bullying                Being here at the shelter has given me the opportunity to                                                                relationships with family, friends or partners. Interestingly, in recent
    had stopped and that she could now be happier at school’                       reassess my situation and also strength and encouragement to
    – 12 year old                                                                                                                                                                                           years, the proportion of calls about bullying have increased, while
                                                                                   move on and I am prepared and ready to look forward to a
    ‘Things are going well for caller – his parents moved house and                better life for myself and my 4 children. Being here at this shelter                                                    concerns about child abuse and peer relationships have decreased.
    he is excited about this. He also is enjoying school and feels he              really helped me in choosing which path I wanted to take. And
    has more control over his environment there. Overall, he is very               all I want to say, this place has been a success for myself and                                                        Females continue to dominate the phone lines (males made 28% of all
    happy’ – 13 year old                                                           my children and I want to thank all those people who helped me                                                       calls) and 54% of callers were younger than 15 years of age.
    ‘Caller says that Kids Help Line is great and that it always makes             to achieve some of my goals here.
    him feel better when talking to a counsellor’ – 13 year old                    So thanks to everyone for giving me a chance and am grateful to
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Almost one in four callers last year made contact with Kids Help Line for the

    ‘Caller rang feeling very happy that she has made up with her                  all that have helped me and my 4 children to move on without                                                    first time… either by telephone, internet or email.
    friends. She decided to talk to them after role-playing some                   hesitation, confusion and desperation and its only because I’ve
    possible scenarios over the phone. The group have made some                    stayed here at the shelter and given a lot of thought as to where                                         We shared these statistics to remind you of the great impact of your support!
    promises to one another so as to avoid future conflicts’ –                     I want to go from here.                                                                            You should feel very proud that you are part of such a network of compassion.
    13 year old                                                                    So this place is top of my list for support for any women
    ‘Caller rang to let me know she is “getting there”. Things are                 escaping domestic violence. Wish you all the very best
    settling down a bit, she is less depressed, and likes to get out
    and do other things now, and having a laugh with her friends’ –
                                                                                   for years to come. Thanks once again to all those who made this
                                                                                   place possible for all of us. I appreciate everything you all have      Awards and accolades...
    15 year old                                                                    done for myself and my children.
                                                                                                                                                           •   Kids Help Line won an international Mental Health Website
      Dear Brother Bill,
      Please accept my/our donation to help you continue your vital work with Australia’s young people and their families.
                                                                                                                                                               Award for “The Best Website in the Category of Professional
      A cheque/money order is enclosed for $                                  (Please make payable to ‘BoysTown’)                                              Therapy or Counselling.”

       or charge my           Bankcard         Mastercard          Visa        Amex         Diners              Expiry Date                                •   The partnership between Kids Help Line and Queensland
      Card No                                                                                                                                                  University of Technology in the development of webcounselling
                                                                                                                                                               tools has been recognised in a report released by the
      OR I would like to donate $__________ monthly by Credit Card (details as above) until I advise otherwise                                                 Australian Academy of Humanities.
      Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms                                                                                                                                       •   BoysTown Employment Service has been rated the Number
      Address                                                                                                         Postcode                                 One Job Network Agency in Australia. Ratings are based on
      Phone       (       )                                                Email
                                                                                                                                                               the number of successful outcomes for long-term unemployed
      If you would like to consider including a gift to BoysTown in your Will, tick here for further information
                                                                                                                                                               or at-risk youth.
      Gifts above $2 are tax deductible - your receipt will be posted to you. Thank you.
      BoysTown respects your privacy. Please visit or call 1800 500 101 to obtain full information on our Privacy Policy.       DNYL

                      BoysTown PO Box 2000 Milton Qld 4064 Telephone (07) 3368 3399 Website                                                  Inside... Read Jess’ heartfelt story. Read the full story... visit
     Keep an angel on the line...                                                                                                                  Bobby Brown brings colour to BoysTown Fatima
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   BoysTown’s Fatima campus in Port Pirie, South
     Kids Help Line recently played host to nearly 800                       During this period I was diagnosed with bulimia, I was seeing
     of our supporters at a benefit auction dinner in                        a psychologist at the area health service twice a week and I                                                                                          Australia, has been brought to life thanks to the
     Melbourne. Themed “Keep an Angel on the Line,”                          was given anti-depressant medication.                                                                                                                 input of talented Aboriginal artist, Bobby Brown.
     this gala event was a major fundraiser. The
                                                                             On the 10th September, I made a decision I didn’t want to live,                                                                                       Bobby has been sharing his expertise with some
     highlight of the evening was a heartfelt address
                                                                             so I then made a decision to die! I took an adult lethal dose.                                                                                        of the young people who visit Fatima on a regular
     from 18-year-old Jess, one of the many young
                                                                             Both the nurse and doctor couldn’t believe that I was still alive.
     people who contact Kids Help Line and are                                                                                                                                                                                     basis. From a clean canvas to the finished product,
     helped by our counselling “angels.” With her                            Without going into all the horrible details - I did come pretty
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   the walls are being adorned with bright murals –
     permission, we share part of her speech with you:                       close to being dead. From that moment on, I decided to give
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   with our young people creating the dots and outlines
                                                                             up on suicide instead of giving up on life.
                                 My story started in 1999, I was 13 and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   under Bobby’s guidance. Bobby is also an
                                 the Department of Community                 I had moved out of home all during this and I was lying on
                                 Services had recently been alerted to       a recuscitation bed, wishing that I could just blurt out what                                                                                         accomplished bush tucker cook, and demonstrates
                                 the fact that I was being physically        I was thinking, what I was feeling and everything that was going                                                                                      traditional Aboriginal skills in making spears,
                                 abused at home. They paid a nice visit,     through that head of mine. I was alone, I was freezing because                                                                                        boomerangs and woomeras and is a proficient
                                 had a cup of tea and then left me - I       of the effects of the drugs and was starving because I couldn’t
                                 felt let down – The abuse continued...                                                                                                                                                            didgeridoo player and storyteller. It is great to see
                                                                             eat and keep it down. I felt naked with vulnerability.
                                 At this point, I was feeling so low about                                                                                                                                                         the young people working hand in hand with Bobby,
                                                                             They did tests and assessments and all I really needed then
                                 myself, I wanted to control a part of my                                                                                                                                                          learning new skills and improving their self esteem,
                                                                             was someone to listen to me. I was kicked out from where I was
                                 life because everything else seemed so
                                                                             living. 13 hours later I was released into the care of my parents.                                                                                    confidence and giving them a feeling of belonging
                                 out-of-control. So I stopped eating!
                                                                             I felt betrayed, hurt, angry and fairly sick.                                                                                                         and acceptance.
     At just under 30kg I was sick and weak, but I was controlling a
     part of my life, which it seemed nobody else could. However it          I called Kids Help Line again that night, this time somebody
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   (If you think Bobby looks familiar, you may have
     soon became out of control and I was referred to a specialist who       picked up on the other end, just hearing the phone pick up
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   seen him in the 50s movie “The Sundowners”)
     deals with anorexia.                                                    was like coming home to a hot and greasy chicken roast. I cried,

     I was so young and confused and completely ignorant of the              I yelled, I blubbered, and then I spoke in a language that not
     help available especially when I later tried to end it all at school.
     A teacher stopped me, but never said anything to me about it
     afterwards. All the while my teachers and family putting my
                                                                             many people seem to understand these days - the rotten
                                                                             depressed teenage language. She knew what I was saying.
                                                                             I mean, no doctor, no psychologist, no teacher had ever been
                                                                                                                                                   BoysTown’s Drive for Work
     mental health state down to me being a teenage drama queen.             able to take what I said and translate it back into English.          A most generous
     I very soon felt the pressure of the two HSC years and I went           The lid had opened, the clouds cleared, the sun came up and
                                                                                                                                                   donor has
     downhill. I started using painkillers regularly and as my emotional     I could see a light at the end of the tunnel. Had that phone not      enabled
     addiction to the drugs grew, my liver started to shut down and          been answered that night, I don’t know whether I would have           BoysTown
     progressively became less efficient.                                    been found alive the next morning, judging from the state
                                                                                                                                                   to provide ten
     On July 1st, I overdosed at school and an ambulance was called.         I was in before I called Kids Help Line, probably not.
     The Ambo’s told my deputy principal that the amount I took could                                                                              young people with
                                                                             Kids Help Line wasn’t just a service or a helpline to me… it was
     actually kill a girl of the size I was.
                                                                             my lifeline! And not just to me but to the thousands of kids
                                                                                                                                                   a challenging –
     At the hospital, blade after knife after any sharp object was taken     around Australia who each day need a little inspiration and help.     and enjoyable –
     away from me as I proceeded to cut myself.
                                                                             Not everyone has depression, or eating disorders or is in             Work for the Dole
     There happened to be police there for another reason and after
                                                                             domestic violence or child abuse situations. Kids who may have        project.
     consulting with the doctors and psychiatry team, I was put under
                                                                             a disability or their mum or dad has just been diagnosed with
     police schedule and I wasn’t even allowed to go to the bathroom
                                                                             cancer for example may call Kids Help Line. These kids don’t
                                                                             just need the angels in fluffy white wings on the end of the phone,
     Many hours later when I left the hospital, I was given a list of
                                                                             they need and I need you to make the phone lines exist.
     contact numbers. Kids Help Line was one of these contact
                                                                             We all need Kids Help Line to help us before it gets to the point     We were recently donated a 1983 Mercedes-Benz SE. Salvation Army Employment Plus was highly in favour of our suggestion that
     numbers. I deliberated over whether I should call them. I was so
     confused about what had just happened. What if when they                later on in our lives, where those little white tablets, the knives   the car be renovated in time to take part in the 2004 Red Cross Motor Trail – which travelled from Maroochydore to Wollongong from
     answered and they thought I was stupid, or if they called me a          or the train becomes a temptation instead of something they           30th July to 7th August.
     burden to society like everyone else seemed to.                         would have previously walked straight past.
                                                                                                                                                   The “Drive for Work” project has provided long term unemployed young people with automotive, mechanical and body building skills.
     What if this? What if that? – I grappled with myself for hours          Tell me, would you think any differently about helping
     whether to call or not.                                                 Kids Help Line if it was your grandchild, niece, nephew, cousin,      The event provided a unique opportunity for disadvantaged young people to be trained in such new skills, and then subsequently take
     I did call… but I didn’t get through! I sat and wondered right then     brother, sister, son or daughter that was relying on it?              part in the drive. The opportunity for personal growth and a sense of achievement for those involved was immense.
     how many kids around Australia had just put themselves through          I guess the scariest thing of all tonight is...                       So we thank our benefactor – who wishes to remain anonymous – for providing this innovative opportunity for our grateful and
     all that angst then didn’t get through.
                                                                             how do you know it isn’t?
                                                                                                                                                   optimistic clients. There are certainly imaginative ways to show support for the young people for whom BoysTown exists!
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