REACHING OUT: Mission Australia staff Ben Ainsley, Cassie Critten, Josh Dooner and Jesse Taylor have been recognised at the NADA Awards.
REACHING OUT: Mission Australia staff Ben Ainsley, Cassie Critten, Josh Dooner and Jesse Taylor have been recognised at the NADA Awards. Trevor Veale

Top recognition for outreach program

MISSION Australia's Junaa Buwa! Alcohol and Other Drugs Outreach Program on the Coffs Coast has been recognised as one of the state's leading support initiatives.

The program - which works with young people to educate and highlight the dangers of alcohol and drug use - has been shortlisted for two NSW Non-Government Alcohol and other Drugs (NADA) Awards.

The awards recognise the program and its co-ordinator, Josh Dooner.

Established in 2012, the outreach program is making waves locally and in the industry, targeting 13 to 18 year olds and delivered in eight local high schools.

This year alone, the program has reached 3417 young people.

Jesse Taylor, program manager at Junaa Buwa! Centre for Youth Wellbeing and the AOD Outreach Program, commended the team for being nominated for such a prestigious industry award.

"They are a very dynamic and responsive team working with at-risk, low socio-economic and Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander young people," Mr Taylor said.

A 16-year-old participant from Coffs Harbour High School reflected on the program, saying: "I learnt heaps of stuff I didn't know. We talked about how drugs work and what makes them dangerous instead of just having rules not to take them."

The program has been shortlisted for excellence in health promotions and the NADA outstanding contribution award for Mr Dooner.



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