How ‘Telly’ is transforming Dalby students’ lives for the better
ARRIVING at school drunk, taking drugs and lashing out at teachers was ordinary behaviour for former Dalby State High School Chantelle ‘Telly’ Fogg until a program changed her life, and now she is using her experiences to transform the lives of the next generation.
Ms Fogg works as a youth leader in Dalby, running a support group through the intervention charity Youth Insearch.
Her troubled past of crime, anger, and loss has shaped her into the person she is today, and she’s determined to make sure regional kids don’t become another statistic.
“I come from a rough background, with a lot of domestic violence, crime, and drug and alcohol problems,” she said.
“I didn’t really know what I was going through and how the things I was experiencing wasn’t normal life, because they stayed the same for three generations.
“It was a very big eye opener for me going through the program.”
Youth Insearch run sessions on relationships, drug and alcohol abuse, sexual assault, and grief, with Ms Fogg saying these were very helpful during her schooling years.
“I was able to confront my issues and own them, and I continued to move forward and live my life, rather than being stuck in my problems and choosing the negative path,” she said.
“I got off the drugs after a couple of programs because of this.”
The heartbreaking loss of someone close to her when she was 17 forced Ms Fogg to “fall into old habits”, leaning towards crime and fighting in the street.
She was able to rally due to the “great support network” she had around her, which allowed her to graduate.
“There was a fantastic behaviour support co-ordinator that worked closely with me, and even after I graduated we kept in touch, and she encouraged me to stay sober,” she said.
“It was a great support network I had between Youth Insearch and the school.
“I was very lucky that I had people behind me to build me up, so I didn’t just become another statistics of kids who didn’t make it in a small town.”
As soon as Ms Fogg turned 18 she created a Youth Insearch based support group in Dalby, which has been running for the past six years.
“I get referrals from different avenues, either from DISCO (Downs Industry Schools Co-Op) or the school,” she said.
“Nine times out of ten it's the kids we work with who bring their friends along.”
Today marks R U OK? day, an awareness campaign encouraging Australians to open the conversation about mental health.
As the world lives through a global pandemic, it’s even more vital than ever that we check in on family and mates.