Healthy Harold turns 40!
IT'S been 40 years since the late Ted Noffs founded Life Education in a bid to break the cycle of youth drug abuse.
Last year, almost a quarter of a million Queensland students in 850 schools received important health information, with the help of the organisation's mascot, Healthy Harold.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has paid tribute to Life Education Queensland's remarkable work in promoting children's health and wellbeing at a celebration event marking 40 years of the charity at Queensland Parliament.
"The recent deaths of several young Australians who took drugs at music festivals are tragic reminders of the dangers that are out there, but it's reassuring for parents that Life Education is out there too, going from school to school, mobile classrooms, talking to kids about staying safe around drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, bullying, as well as eating well and keeping active," Ms Palaszczuk said.
Life Education has reached more than six million Australian students, including 1.5 million Queensland students using Healthy Harold the Giraffe, experienced educators, 3-D technology and carefully tailored programs to empower young people to make safe and healthy choices.
Life Education Queensland CEO Michael Fawsitt said the charity's impact in Queensland was stronger than it had ever been.
"In 2013, barely 107,000 children could access our health and wellbeing program," Mr Fawsitt said.
"That's now grown to more than 200,000 children and young people. Our educators can now reach the remotest of communities. In fact, next week two of our team will be back in Doomadgee to deliver programs for the third consecutive year.
"Sadly, deplorable numbers of children and teenagers are being exposed to domestic and family violence, and we know that children of mothers experiencing domestic violence have higher rates of social and emotional problems compared to other children. This area of resilience and respectful relationships is a growing focus for Life Education, in addition to our focus on tackling obesity, smoking and the harms of alcohol and illicit drugs."
Life Education Queensland co-patron the Honourable Rob Borbidge AO paid tribute to the organisation's Queensland founders the late Ron McMaster and Brian and Kathy Ray and said decades of bipartisan political support was testament to Life Education's important work in the community.
"We will never know how many lives have been saved. We will never know how many lives have been changed as a direct consequence of the work carried out by Life Education, not just in the cities, but in regional and remote communities right across Australia and particularly here in Queensland," Mr Borbidge said.