TEAM EFFORT: Marie Kelly from the Department of Human Services, Sen-Constable Dale Kenna, Jess Walsh from Surat Aboriginal Corporation and Sgt Greg Calletti from Maranoa PCYC.
TEAM EFFORT: Marie Kelly from the Department of Human Services, Sen-Constable Dale Kenna, Jess Walsh from Surat Aboriginal Corporation and Sgt Greg Calletti from Maranoa PCYC. Ellen Ransley

Pre-prevention program to keep kids off the street

TO HELP keep teenagers of the Maranoa off the streets, police officers, government staff and a local organisation have teamed up to keep youths busy after school.

A Local Drug and Alcohol Team specific to the Maranoa has already launched Project Connect in Surat and will be opening up after-school programs to teenagers in Mitchell and Roma next school term.

Surat Aboriginal Corporation's Jess Walsh said the idea was to keep them busy and hopefully deter them from drugs and other troublesome activities.

"We did surveys with 152kids from around the Maranoa and we found 62per cent said they did not feel connected to clubs and they wanted a place they could come to,” she said.

"So we decided to launch some pre-prevention activities to get kids off the street, to have things to do and have a place where they are safe.

"We're hoping it will also deter them from getting into drugs. We want to target especially 12-17-year-olds, we want to make sure there are activities on for them.”

Senior Constable Dale Kenna is also on board, hopeful it means barriers are able to be broken down.

"We really want to build relationships with our young people and have them know we can be on their side,” he said.

"We are available to them to keep them on the right path and it's a great initiative for us to be part of.”

Sergeant Greg Calletti of Maranoa PCYC said he was hoping the local centre would become a safe place for young people.

"We're hoping to host the after-school activities,” he said.

"Again, police are here to build relationships with our community, including our young people.”

In addition, indigenous service officer Marie Kelly, Rodney Landers of Queensland Health and Angus Mitchell are on board.

"Angus will be running our Roma activities. He is a jack of all trades and he will be able to engage these kids,” Ms Walsh said.

Activities resume in Surat and begin in Roma and Mitchell the first week of term three.


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