TOOWOOMBA lawyer Adair Donaldson has seen ordinary, decent people come unstuck because of poor, split-second decisions.
His experience as a regional solicitor dealing with young people and parents led him to develop Putting Youth in the Picture, a highly regarded program that gives parents a greater understanding of the risks of underage drinking and the often harrowing consequences that can follow.
Gympie parents have a chance to participate in an information session at 6pm next Tuesday which, Mr Donaldson warns, does have some confronting images, but has been proven to be of real help to parents as they guide their teenagers through what can be challenging times.
Like most regional cities, Gympie has its fair share of binge drinking, underage drinking, illicit drugs, youth violence, sexual assault, road deaths and bullying.
Mr Donaldson said the program aimed for a two-pronged attack to combat these issues – one that reached out to the young people and one that reached out to parents. He acknowledged that Gympie, as a community, had already taken ownership of these problems through proactive local measures.
“Gympie is saying, this is our problem and we can deal with it,” he said.
“The session is not about telling parents how to do better, but rather to give them a greater understanding of the risks that teens can be exposed to and providing strategies in order to deal with the pitfalls,” he pointed out.
The session has the support of Gympie magistrate Maxine Baldwin. And NRL legend Wayne Bennett has praised the program, saying it is “an innovative, proactive, unique presentation that makes compelling viewing”.
“All parents should take the opportunity to be involved in this project,” he said.
Mr Donaldson said the session had been developed for parents of teens and "tweens" and promised an informative and interesting, sometimes confronting evening, which, he added, would definitely not be “death by PowerPoint”.
The session is free. More information can be obtained from Matt Allard on 5481 0760.