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    Wodonga Community Advocacy Panel with Brent, Pip, Rose and Michelle Milthorpe; Solange Ntigonza; and, Cr Jessica Kellahan

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    Event description

    Gateway Health invites you to join us for an engaging session as part of our community capacity-building event series to inspire and empower individuals and communities to advocate for positive change.

    Join us for our third event on Thursday, July 4, 2024, from 5.30pm at Gateway Health in Wodonga to explore inspiring stories that highlight the challenges faced by youth and families, and how our speakers transformed their experiences into catalysts for change.

    Please note, this panel includes mentions of sexual abuse. If you need support, please see a range of services available below.

    Our speakers
    Brent, Pip, Rose and Michelle Milthorpe

    In 2013, the Milthorpe family’s life changed forever with the revelation that their children had been victims of sexual abuse by a trusted family friend. In their pursuit of justice, the family experienced the failures of a flawed and antiquated legal system.

    After the re-traumatising experience of a delayed and lengthy court process, mum Michelle set about researching ways to improve a system that was perpetuating abuse for already vulnerable young people. She began her letter writing while waiting for the verdict in 2016.

    In 2022, Rose, then 14, became the youngest survivor in Australia to be able to publicly share her story. With the help of Member for Albury Justin Clancy, journalist and survivor advocate Nina Funnell and more than 65,000 petitioners, Rose, Pip, Brent and Michelle, with support from their eldest daughter Maggie, achieved the goal of changing a broken system so that all children in NSW have access to the supports they need to participate more equitably in the legal system.

    Since this time, the family have spoken twice at the National Child Protection Conference with the dream that one day all children nationwide will also have these supports.

    This is the first time that the Milthorpes have shared their story on the Border.

    Solange Ntigonza

    Solange Ntigonza has been recognised for her passion and advocacy in youth mental health, notably as a 2024 Heywire winner.

    Born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Solange’s family was separated by war.

    Solange attended Wodonga Senior Secondary College  and is now studying a Bachelor in Psychological Science at La Trobe University.

    Her work, including the development of the “A Place For You” (APFYU) program, focuses on creating supportive and accessible mental health resources for young people.

    Solange brings a unique perspective and commitment to fostering mental wellbeing among the youth.

    Cr Jessica Kellahan

    Jessica is an AlburyCity councillor who is passionate about her community and honoured to live and work on Wiradjuri Country.  Jessica cares deeply about the health, safety and wellbeing, social justice and equality.

    Jessica is a local teacher who has worked in education on the Border for 19 years, having completed her schooling in Albury. Jessica is an advocate for youth engagement and believes all young people should have access to meaningful learning. She is committed to improving educational outcomes for everyone.

    Jessica actively supports building a brighter future in the space of mental health across the Border ensuring adequate access to services for preventing, intervention and in-patient services for young people in regional areas.

    Support services

    Beyond Blue: Beyond Blue has an online youth mental health service. It has online chat, forums and phone counselling. Phone 1300 224 636, 24 hours, seven days a week.

    Blue Knot: This is a support service for adult survivors of childhood trauma and abuse, parents, partners, family and friends. Phone 1300 657 380, 9am-5pm, seven days a week.

    Kids Helpline: Kids Helpline is a free, confidential phone counselling service for young people aged from five to 25 years. It also offers webchat and email counselling. Phone 1800 551 800, 24 hours, seven days a week.

    National Domestic Family and Sexual Violence Counselling Service: 1800RESPECT is a counselling, information and referral service for anyone who has been affected by sexual assault, domestic or family violence and abuse. Phone 1800RESPECT or 1800 737 732, 24 hours, seven days a week.

    Disclaimer: By attending this event, you agree that your photo or video may taken and acknowledge that images may be used by the organisation for educational or promotional material in print and/or digital format, including the website and social media channels. If you do not wish for your images to be used, please speak with one of the Gateway Health staff on the day to make necessary arrangements.

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