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A fresh new look and name for BoysTown is in the Spotlight

by PeakCare Qld on 3rd March 2016

Home -> Articles -> 2016 -> March -> A fresh new look and name for BoysTown is in the Spotlight

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On Sunday February 28th 2016 the national organisation BoysTown officially became yourtown. On Monday 29th yourtown staff together with stakeholders, in sites across Australia, celebrated their new identity in brightly coloured buildings boasting freshly designed artwork and logos. Australia wide morning teas were held to mark this occasion.

The name change launched last Sunday came about after years of planning. CEO Tracy Adams said that BoysTown has achieved much and helped many hundreds of thousands of young people since its inception in 1961 and the name change reflects the changes in the organisation over many years: “BoysTown is proud of its legacy of helping some of those most disadvantaged in our community. Yet much has changed, from the types of services delivered to how we interact with those we’re helping.”

yourtown now describes itself as:

A charity with services young people can access to find jobs, learn skills, become great parents and live safer, happier lives. We tackle issues impacting the lives of young people across Australia – like mental health and unemployment and take on issues like family and domestic violence.

“The change to yourtown better reflects what we do and the inclusive nature of our work,” said Ms Adams. This is exemplified by a brief overview of the history of the organisation, particularly that it began with a service to boys and young men and has since expanded significantly over the decades to include services to all members of the community including women, men, children and families.

BoysTown was established in 1961 by the De La Salle Brothers who set up a residential school for young men in Queensland. In the same year the first BoysTown Art Union was offered with a car as the prize. In 1982 the Art Union grew to offer the first of many prize homes. Located in the Brisbane suburb of River Hills, it was valued at approximately $83,000. Since then the name BoysTown has become synonymous with Art Union prize homes, boasting one of Australia’s longest running charitable Art Unions and the organisations major source of funding.

BoysTown youth welfare and advocacy services were launched in Logan, Queensland in 1991. Since then additional services continued to be introduced and evolve in response to community need. These include: young parent education programs, work enterprises, employment and education services, programs offering assistance to those facing mental health issues, housing and support for women and children escaping domestic and family violence and those experiencing homelessness and associated issues. Services were extended throughout South East Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Tasmania.

Also in 1991 a major expansion of service delivery occurred when Kids Helpline (KHL) was launched in Queensland to then become a national service in 1993. Being the only telephone counselling service of its type offering counselling and support to children and young people over the phone, KHL is Australia's only free, private and confidential 24 hour counselling and support service for children and young people aged between 5 and 25 years.

Children and young people can and do call KHL about issues that are of concern to them such as: relationships with friends and family, schooling, homelessness, violence and abuse, body image and mental health issues including self-injury and suicidal ideation. Each year KHL provides counselling, information and support opportunities on approximately three quarters of a million occasions to children and young people through direct contact and website help-seeking activities. These children and young people may contact only once or multiple times so it is difficult to ascertain the exact number of children that this significant number of contacts pertain to. KHL also enacts duty of care obligations to protect children and young people or remove them from unsafe environments in almost 2000 instances annually.

In order to holistically meet the needs of children and young people, the support of parents is also important. As such yourtown also operates Parentline, a confidential telephone service providing professional counselling, education and support to parents and carers concerned with the wellbeing of children and young people. The service operates from 8am to 10pm seven days a week and is available to those residing in Queensland or the Northern Territory.

Parentline counsellors annually engage in approximately 11,000 counselling and support sessions with parents and carers. The primary reasons for those requiring assistance include: support with challenging behaviours of children and young people, assistance in enhancing relationships and communication and support with intimate partner relationships.

Callers to both Kids Helpline and Parentline can elect to speak with either a male or female counsellor. They can also arrange to speak with the same counsellor each time they call in order that they build rapport and don’t need to keep telling their story to receive ongoing assistance and support.

yourtown now has more than 600 staff and volunteers and receives more than 250,000 contacts from children, young people and families every year across its 42 centres in 35 locations around Australia. There is no doubt that this organisation is not the BoysTown that began in 1961. It has clearly undergone major metamorphosis across the years culminating now in its new name and branding, more aligned with its current work that has been gaining in momentum over the past years. yourtown is now the forward moving organisation intent on fulfilling their aim to create brighter futures.

For further information on yourtown and their programs visit www.yourtown.com.au

For Kids Helpline counselling support contact 1800 55 1800 or visit www.kidshelp.com.au. Call 07 3369 1588 if you have general questions about the service.

For Parentline counselling support contact 1300 30 1300 or visit www.parentline.com.au. Call 07 3369 1588 if you have general questions about the service.