Entries in Child & Adolescent Services (5)


Powerhouse Programs - Because Growing Up is Optional

Powerhouse Programs is the creation of Stephen Halsall and Andy Roy. Both Stephen and Andy have been heavily involved in working with men and boys through well-respected national community development organisations. Their lives and relationships have become richer for these endeavours and they take great joy in sharing this with others.

In doing this work in the community it became very clear to them that there was significantly more they could to do to bring this powerful work into the lives of a larger proportion of our society.

Stephen and Andy met in 2003 where as chance would have it, they both attended their first men only weekend in the Gold Coast Hinterland. From that fateful encounter they have become close friends and work colleagues through facilitating programs like Common Ground (a 9-week life skills course for men program), Pathways to Manhood (a week-long contemporary Rite-of-Passage for men and boys), on various organising committees for Men’s Gatherings and executive committees. In 2009 they jointly developed a Men’s Rite of Passage program which was gifted to Men’s Wellbeing Association. (

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The Odyssey Program (In-School Workshops for Adolescent Boys)

March 2012 Newsletter

Welcome to our first Newsletter for 2012. We hope you can spare a few moments to read what is new with us and how we might be able to support you and your school in bringing out the best in your boys in 2012 and beyond.

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The Odyssey Program: In School Workshops For Adolescent Boys

The Odyssey Program is here to help Australian teenage boys become the best men they can be!

The  Program  visits  secondary  schools with  a fun and  engaging day  of workshops jam-packed with information and activities guaranteed to have everyone thinking a little differently. (Teachers included!)

Our passionate  aim is to  challenge  adolescent males to  open up  and discuss issues that affect them all.

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Dad's pain spawns a lifeline


United … Gary and Amy Sillett with their son, Callum. Photo: Jacky Ghossein

A YEAR ago Gary Sillett lived through an expectant father's worst nightmare - the premature birth and subsequent death of his child.

He and his wife, Amy, had been excited about the impending arrival of their second son, Isaac, but on December 8 their baby was born by caesarean 14 weeks early.

Isaac ''fought like a trooper'' in the neonatal intensive care unit at Sydney's Royal North Shore hospital, before he died peacefully in his parents' arms two days later. His ashes are in a rocket-ship-shaped container placed in the backyard of their Ryde home.

Mr Sillett took on the responsibility of caring for his wife and their toddler son Callum, informing loved ones and friends, completing reams of paperwork, organising the funeral, figuring out how he was going to go back to work to pay the medical bills as well as dealing with his own grief, anger and guilt.

''Your whole world is turned upside down,'' Mr Sillett said.

He found that fathers dealing with the death of a child or trying to cope when children have life-threatening illnesses were often sidelined and there was a big gap in support services for fathers.

That's when he decided to create Pillars of Strength, an Australian-first initiative designed to give practical support to fathers and some respite from the day-to-day stresses.

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The men from Uncle making a difference in boys' lives

A mentoring project for boys with absent fathers is struggling to stay afloat, writes Saffron Howden. When Luke Chamberlain's father died suddenly of a heart attack while surfing near Byron Bay two years ago, the nine-year-old was left with his twin sisters and a loving mother. It wasn't enough. He needed a male guide: someone to take him hiking, camping and surfing; someone to talk about cars, movies, sport and girls.

An uncle was the obvious choice - and Uncle, a unique community group that for nearly 15 years has helped hundreds of boys with absent or fickle fathers find adult male mentors, provided just that. "There's a lot of boys growing up without father figures around; some of them are slack, some of them have left, some have gone off with other women," Uncle's chief executive, Mark Gasson, said. "[Uncle is] never a replacement for a dad, but it's someone in their life that they can call and say, 'I'm having this crisis."