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Youthline – A call for help

For immediate release – November 17, 2004

Youthline – A call for help

Proceeds from Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park to benefit New Zealand’s young people.

For the fourth year running, money raised from the sale of light sticks, Santa hats and donations from concert-goers will help Youthline achieve their goals.

Last year $62,000 was raised from the popular outdoor concerts and these funds have helped enable Youthline to raise the number of daily hours that their phones are covered to 16, right across the country. Calls that would otherwise have gone unanswered are now diverted to other centres. The introduction of 3 way calling also enables relevant Crisis Response teams to come on the line if needed in extreme cases.

Most New Zealanders are aware that Youthline is often the last line of help for troubled young kiwis. What is not so well-known is Youthline’s role in helping to build the potential of young people and equip them as leaders in their community.

“We deal with youth issues across the board” says Youthline Director, Stephen Bell.
“Our phone service is usually the first point of contact for young people in distress and these people can be helped by our youth development programmes. Through additional services such as crisis pregnancy counselling, health, social and youth development services, we are able to be more pro-active in the reduction of youth problems.”

Interestingly, email is becoming more important as a first point of contact. Stephen believes that anonymity is an important factor in young people choosing this option. STD’s, pregnancy and drug abuse are problems they might not choose to enquire about if their identity could be exposed.

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“Nevertheless” says Stephen, “Our ultimate aim is to have the phones covered nationwide 24 hours a day. That involves training more volunteers and that’s an expensive business. We currently have about 950 volunteers throughout New Zealand. Man power isn’t the problem - money is. Christmas is traditionally a time for helping other people and who better to help than the youth of our country?

“It’s thanks to events like Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park which provide us an opportunity to raise much needed funds as well the chance to highlight the significance of the help and support that Youthline gives to young New Zealanders”.

Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park will be held in Christchurch on Saturday 27 November at North Hagley Park and in Auckland on Saturday 11 December at the Auckland Domain.

ENDS

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