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Just Think initiative wins VicHealth award

Just Think ambassadors Zac Smith, Renee Garing, Cam Guthrie and Mitch Duncan. - Geelong Cats
Just Think ambassadors Zac Smith, Renee Garing, Cam Guthrie and Mitch Duncan.
Just Think is an important program as we look to change cultural attitudes in the community to discourage under age drinking.
Sarah Albon - Geelong Cats General Manager of Community

Just Think, a joint Geelong Football Club and BCYF community program that educates young people about the impact of alcohol on individuals and the community has been honoured as the winner of the VicHealth award for preventing harm from alcohol.

The program aims to support the decision to delay alcohol consumption until 18 years of age, and to reduce the amount of alcohol currently being consumed by students.

It also seeks to raise awareness and provide an evidence informed education program to young people and the wider community about the impact of alcohol misuse and the specific risks surrounding under age alcohol use. Just Think content and messaging is informed by evidence developed by Deakin University School of Psychology's Smart Generation program and are informed by the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Just Think is supported by four Cats players who serve as ambassadors, with Zac Smith, Cam Guthrie, Mitch Duncan and Renee Garing leading the key messages around the program. The program was founded 12 years ago by Tom Harley, James Kelly and Dave Wojcinski.

“Just Think is an important program as we look to change cultural attitudes in the community to discourage under age drinking,” Geelong Football Club general manager of community Sarah Albon said.

“In 2018 the Just Think message reached 1.3 million people through running the program, our dedicated match day and the media passing these messages on to wide audiences. We saw an average 7.5% increase in students intention to avoid alcohol and 93.3% of students who took part in the schools program reported that they had learnt something new. This demonstrates the impact that the Just Think program has in the community.

“Our club is proud of the 10 community programs that we run, and we are particularly pleased that Vic Health has recognised Just Think for its role in preventing harm from alcohol.

“BCYF is very proud to partner with the Geelong Cats to deliver this evidence based, early intervention program for school students in the Geelong region. We are also excited to announce that in 2019 we will be expanding Just Think and will be doubling the number of students that participate in the program. The flow on effects of this expansion will be huge in the greater Geelong region, and we will continue to educate young people on ways to make better decisions in relation to alcohol consumption,” BCYF CEO, Mr Sandy Morrison.

“St John of God has a long standing history of partnering with community initiatives that make a difference.  The Just Think program demonstrates the power of collectivity when organisations collaborate for social impact,” Director of Corporate & Service Development Taanya Widdicombe said.

Just Think is delivered as a full day program to year 8 and 9 students at the Deakin Cats Community Centre at GMHBA Stadium. Shorter sessions are also available as requested through AFL Barwon, BCYF, Headspace Geelong, SEDA and other associated networks.

The Just Think program proudly sponsored by St John of God and Delko Tools.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs