Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Whitelion Bailout wrap up

Recently I had the opportunity to participate in this years Whitelion bailout . The event focuses on the effects of the criminal justice system on juvenile detainees and the struggle they face to break the cycle they are stuck in brought on by their personal hardships.This statement from Whitelion pretty much sums it up :

Each year thousands of young people are disconnected from our community due to abuse and neglect , drug addiction and poverty. These young people have often had horrific life experiences with few positive role models and very little family support. They often find themselves caught in a " cycle of disappointment" that is very hard to break. 

The aim for each participant is to raise $1000.00 as "bail" and this money goes towards helping the fund the programs Whitelion run. I went in with really no understanding of what was going to happen and whilst everything was done with a pinch of humour, each different cell we were put in had a story and underlying each of these was a real message that I was receiving loudly and clearly : there are kids at risk and they need all the help we can muster.

The one thing that did jump out straight away was that quite a few of the people participating, had raised their funds independently of their work. I felt an enormous amount of respect for these guys as all my fund raising was done through work and I'm lucky, its a big company. We raised $1200.00 through a series of events ( food days , dress up days and raffles) held and it really was great to see so many people participate and genuinely want to help out.

 I saw this This article article on Crikey in response to a proposed Government push to make sentencing mandatory for up to two years for offenders as young as 16. After hearing the stories that these kids go through and the things they are subject to , the article is absolute right and I seriously hope the government changes it's mind, as when even the lawyers are concerned about the change and can demonstrate it's not working elsewhere,  we should all be concerned.
From what I saw and heard, throwing  kids in jail isn't working. They need help and it's up to us.

This is the moment they closed the door and left us with just our thoughts............

Whitelion are out there helping the kids that really need it and we should give them all the help we can.
I will be doing this again next year.

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