It was usually on Monday morning that the stories would come. Confidential stories. Deeply unsettling stories. Stories confided in me because their friends were desperately worried.

Worried about the 15 year old who drank so much at a public party in a park on Friday night that she vomited, passed out, landed in hospital with her stomach pumped, and later told her friends it was all a lot of fun.

Worried about the 11 year old boy whose mum innocently dropped him off at a mate’s place for a sleepover, and who ended up taking a bottle of rum to a big party.

Worried about the 17 year old who hit the alcohol and drugs so hard her heart stopped in an ambulance. But the very next night, more alcohol, more drugs.

Not everyone is so lucky. Another seventeen-year-old on drugs and alcohol. Another heart stopped. This time, no ambulance.

Four true stories of teenagers. Stories that I knew first hand as a high school teacher on the Gold Coast ten years ago.

These stories are replayed across Australia a thousand times every week.

They keep me awake at night.

In response to calls from desperately concerned students and parents, I printed a booklet entitled A Parents’ Guide to Teen Alcohol and Parties, which we circulated to hundreds of families in south-east Queensland ten years ago.

In 2010, with the financial support of 33 wineries, I updated A Parents’ Guide to Teen Alcohol and Parties and printed 200,000 copies. 160,000 have since been circulated to school families around Australia, with 40,000 yet to be given away.

In early 2011 I embarked on a much more ambitious dream. An aspiration that dared to ask: what could be done that would have the greatest impact in turning around under-age alcohol abuse in our country? What are the most powerfully effective initiatives currently in play, and how could we better resource these to multiply their reach? What if we could open up channels of support and funding never before accessible to these organisations? And if we could do this, and make a real difference for our young people, could this set in motion a generational change that might even begin to turn around the culture of alcohol abuse in Australia?

Three-and-a-half years, many hundreds of pages of complex applications and thousands of hours later, Teen Rescue Foundation is the start of this dream.

Teen Rescue Foundation is not just about money. It’s about keeping this problem in the public profile, about telling the alarming stories and about celebrating the initiatives that make a real difference in the lives of our young people.

To this end, I need your support. Join me in making a stand to support our young people. Commit to addressing under-age alcohol abuse in Australia.

Statistics show that we are making a positive difference in teen alcohol abuse in this country. Together, there is much, much more that we can do.

Tyson Stelzer.

The Teen Rescue Foundation Story