To whom it may concern
HELPING KIDS CHOOSE LIFE
I am writing in my capacity as the State Member for Kawana to add my personal support to the "Helping Kids Choose Life" project, developed by a constituent of mine, Mr DesBowman.
The Helping Kids Choose Life project is derived from a book of the same name, written by Mr Bowman.
Mr Bowman is dedicated to raising awareness of youth issues in our society. The project caters for secondary school students throughout Queensland.
Mr Bowman personally visits schools and other similar forums, to address young people about potentially harmful behaviour patterns such as self-harm, violence and the impacts of suicide. The presentation is complemented with an information pack that enables follow-up to the discussion and provides further details about the project.
The project has been developed through personal experiences and has the endorsement of various school principals, guidance officers and youth support services.
I have met with Mr Bowman on several occasions and believe that this project is extremely beneficial to young people in our society. The issues in question can be quite confronting, but are dealt with in an manner that is respectful.
I wish Mr Bowman every success with his endeavours and the success of th is project.
Should you need any further information or additional input from me, please call me on (07) 54 78 1189.
Jarrod Bleiji MP
Member for Kawana
Minister for Justice
Helping Kids Choose Life
"Your book deals with issues that are, alarmingly, on the increase in our society. Thank you for addressing them and empowering the reader with information and directives on identifying these behaviour patterns in young people and how to assist them in dealing with their issues.
We trust that this book will become a mandatory reference book for all who are involved with young lives."
Principal, Coolum Beach Christan College
"This is an easy read, a painful subject, and much needed personal account of one individual's experience as a victim of abuse. Des Bowman provides a detailed description of the sometimes struggle, and sometimes ecstacy, of his life journey. A journey through innocence, pain, loss, grief, playing the blame and shame game into the contrast of wisdom, peace of mind, personal responsibility, and finally receiving the gift. This account provides insight, awareness, and freedom for the reader. It is a valuable resource for anyone supporting our young people."
Letters from school students
Below are testimonials provided by students at schools where Des has had speaking engagements.
"Dear Des,Thank you so much for coming to our school last month to speak to us about your experiences with abuse and bullying. It made us all cry to think of how many kids put up with this in silence because they don't know who to talk to. l have learnt so much from your talk and will now be able to help my friends find help in the future, Once again thank you,"
Ashleigh Coates Pacific Lutheran College, year 11
"I am a 16 year old female student of a Sunshine Coast High School in Queensland, Australia that Des Bowman spoke at recently. As we regularly have speakers come to our school I remember telling the other students outside the classroom whilst waiting to go in that here we go again, another speaker coming to our school to tell us stuff we already know and how to live our lives.
Well I was wrong and, and what Des spoke to us about had all of us in tears because he was so accurate with his understanding of our emotions and what many of us have to deal with. Des's life story of being sexually abused, rejected, and bullied and why so many kids self harm, committ suicide or grow into angry adults who harm innocent people, had us on the edge of our seats and some parts of his story reminded us of some of things that were going on in our own lives.
I contacted Des by email through his website to thank him for coming to our school as I had been struggling for ages because of the bitter divorce that is taking place between my parents, and for ages I believed it was my fault that this was happening. There have been many times that l felt like running away, or self harming and often I would just sit in my room crying and get so depressed. Even when I was with my friends or family I would have difficulty in talking, as I was afraid of the pain that I was feeling from the break up of my family.
To ask for help from the school counsellor or anyone else was too hard and I was scared to admit I was having problems, because I was scared of what other peopIe would think of me. When Des replied to my email he encouraged me to talk to someone qualified to help me, and he told me that I was courageous for contacting him and would be an inspiration to others who are struggling as well.
I have never felt better in my life because instead of just talking to my school friends and my boy friend about this stuff, I was able to get help and tell someone who knew what I should do about my problems. Thanks to Des for helping me and l am also gratefuI to our school for getting Des back a week later to talk to other classes as I got to meet with him personally and thank him for helping myself and many others."
The name of this student has been witheld
"Des Bowman came and spoke to the year 11 's class that we are in at Pacific Lutheran College, and we found him to be the most inspirational person we have met. Des spoke about the likely reasons as to why so many young people self - harm, suicide or who grow into angry adults who committ horendous acts of violence against innocent people in our communities. His experiences in being sexually abused ,rejected and having been bullied as a young boy touched us alI in the, classroom that day.
Although we haven't been sexually abused we now understand that there have been many children who have been, and from Des's talk we can now understand the behavior of those who have been abused.
We are sure that there were kids in that class who needed to hear what Des had to say, as during morning tea after Des spoke to us, the conversation from all the students present was how much we all got out of what Des told us about the impact that rejection has on kids growing up, and the impact of our words when we speak to others.
We have both been guilty of saying things to others and not realising the impact these words can have on the lives of other kids as we often don't know what they have experienced or what may be going on in their lives outside school.
Des, thanks mate for coming to our school and and talking to us about these important life issues, and sharing your own story. You touched a heap of people and we hope to hear you again soon. We are also grateful to our school for caring enough about us to have Des come along and help us."
Michael & Scott Ford
Pacific Lutheran College
"It wasn't until I read Des's book that I realised that I had a blockage in my heart, as I had been sexually abused as a teenager. Reading Des's book and hearing his testimony released me to a new level of healing that I never knew was possible. I was then able to express my own story which in turn has set others free. Thanks Des for your openeness."
Brendon Clancy , Age: 51
Caloundra Queensland Australia
"When my girlfriend bought Des's book for me and asked me to read it, I reluctantly did so. It was amazing how accurate Des was in describing the behaviour patterns of sexual abuse victims, as I saw a lot of my own troubles connected to the fact I was sexually abused as a nine year old boy. In fact I recently served nearly seven years in prison due to acts of violence and anger against others , and I now know that my sexual abuse experience contributed enormously to this outcome. This book has helped set me free of the harmful behaviour against not only others , but against myself as well. Thanks Des."
Alan Black (Blackie) , Age: 44
Albury, New South Wales Australia
To Whom It May Concern,
My name is James Te Kura and I am the Coordinator at Arethusa college, a school for disengaged young people. At Arethusa College provide Education and life skills to around 100 young boys. Many of these boys have learning difficulties andoehavioural profilems tliatprevent them from fitting into mainstream education facilities, as they can at times be very disruptive and unruly. On the 20th of February 2013 we had Des Bowman as a guest speaker to address two groups of students. Everyone was impacted by his presentation.
The message that Des gave "turns the lights" on for people of all age groups,as to why they may have developed violent, substance abusive behaviours that can also contribute to harmful addictions such as gambling etc as well as self harm.
Mr Bowman was recommended to us by former Australian Rugby League International and prison Chaplain for over 17 years in Noel Gallagher, and his words were that Des's presentation was the best he had ever seen.
I personally have worked in with Youth for over 20 years in Detention centres, Education facilities and Community and have to agree with Noel Gallagher that Des's message is extremely rele:vant and powerful.
I have never before seen these young men sit so still and be so attentive to any other presentation that has been placed in front of them, and there were individuals who openly came forward at the end of each session to thank Des for being so helpful and some who shared experiences they had that led to their now disruptive behaviours.
The presentation was not only helpful to the young boys who were present but to some of the staff and specialist counsellors etc who work with these boys and others, so many people benefit from Des's message. If you wish to contact me to discuss this reference please do so at Arethusa College.