120 at-risk youth supported

Build the Future (BTF) Managing Director, Melanie Minichiello, has always had a heart for at-risk youth. A former school chaplain, Melanie is passionate about helping young people find purpose….

Build the Future (BTF) Managing Director, Melanie Minichiello, has always had a heart for at-risk youth.

A former school chaplain, Melanie is passionate about helping young people find purpose. “‘At-risk’ is an interesting term,” says Melanie, “but to me, it describes young people who are at risk of not fulfilling their potential.

“I see a lot of value in SU QLD’s at-risk program Connect — it allows young people to explore who they are in a safe setting. And about bringing out the best in themselves, and in each other,” she says.

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Posted: 21/10/2014

The changing face of Connect

Three years ago, while attending SU QLD’s annual Chaplaincy Conference, high school chappy Nicola Ellery heard about the Connect program for ‘at-risk’ boys, and found herself wishing someone would begin…

Three years ago, while attending SU QLD’s annual Chaplaincy Conference, high school chappy Nicola Ellery heard about the Connect program for ‘at-risk’ boys, and found herself wishing someone would begin a girl’s equivalent of the program in her home town of Cairns. In 2014, Nicola became that person.

“It’s a privilege and a wonderful opportunity to be involved with the first Connect girls’ group,” Nicola says. The Connect program — which, until this year, exclusively focused on boys considered to be at-risk of struggling through school — is SU QLD’s main adventure-based learning program, running in 15 schools throughout Queensland.

The program places a heavy emphasis on group interaction, physical and mental development, and action-packed camping to give participants a chance to test their limits. But of course, a Connect program for girls was bound to look a little different.

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Posted: 24/08/2014

Young Indigenous leaders’ futures are limitless

For two Indigenous boys at Baralaba State School, life has taken a huge turn in the last 12 months thanks to the Limitless program for at-risk young people. Limitless,…

For two Indigenous boys at Baralaba State School, life has taken a huge turn in the last 12 months thanks to the Limitless program for at-risk young people.

Limitless, rolled out for the first time in Central Queensland in Semester 2 of 2013, is an interactive, adventure-based, team-building program. It is suited for ‘at-risk’ students, those more suited to hands-on learning, and students aspiring to grow in leadership skills.

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Posted: 14/06/2014

Mathew overcomes life’s challenges through Connect

Twelve-year-old Mathew Sumpton has experienced a lot of hardships. His 15-year-old sister, Tiffany, tragically died after an asthma attack last year, and his dad, Darran, was almost killed in…

Twelve-year-old Mathew Sumpton has experienced a lot of hardships. His 15-year-old sister, Tiffany, tragically died after an asthma attack last year, and his dad, Darran, was almost killed in a workplace accident six years ago.

These challenges crushed Mathew’s confidence, and he coped by behaving badly at home and school and withdrawing from those around him. “There’s tape on my door because Mathew head-butted it after his sister locked him out. That was before he started changing his attitude, and he’s been doing really, really well,” says Mathew’s mum, Vanessa. (more…)

Posted: 27/03/2014

A life changed, a future restored

For most 11-year old Queensland girls the greatest challenges in life can be finding time for homework or falling out with a friend in the schoolyard. At 11 years…

For most 11-year old Queensland girls the greatest challenges in life can be finding time for homework or falling out with a friend in the schoolyard.

At 11 years of age, Toowoomba schoolgirl Bree Himstedt had already been removed from her drug-addicted mother’s care to live with her ‘Nan’. She battled depression and had even contemplated taking her own young life. Then she met school chaplain Debbie Dodds. (more…)

Posted: 18/01/2014

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