AWARDED: Chrysalis Girls Program co-founders Amie Dreyer and Jane McGowen
AWARDED: Chrysalis Girls Program co-founders Amie Dreyer and Jane McGowen Hazel Thompson

Changing young lives

AN ADOLESCENT counselling program founded in 2008 at Byron Bay High School has won the annual Northern District Local Health Network Overall Quality Award for 2014.

Chrysalis Girls Program currently supports 90 at-risk young women in five high schools across the Northern Rivers every week through weekly group counselling sessions.

"Over the last seven years we have engaged literally hundreds of girls from a diverse range of backgrounds," said co-founders Amie Dreyer and Jane McGowen.

"A number of schools are on our waiting list and it's through this award we hope to reach the overwhelming need for the support of young women who often fall through the cracks."

More than 90% of the young women who have participated in the program claim Chrysalis has made significant and positive changes by reconnecting them with family and shifting generational patterns of dysfunction.

"From my experience, most teenagers much prefer a group therapeutic environment in which they have a sense of ownership, rather than the traditional one-on-one counselling framework," sexual assault counsellor Jane McGowen said.

"This engagement is one of Chrysalis' greatest achievements."

Mullumbimby High School deputy principal Cameron Johnson said the school's female students had been reaping the rewards of Chrysalis for several years.

"I have witnessed first-hand the significant impact this program has had on changing girls' lives in a positive way," he said.



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