Toowoomba celebrating their Top Blokes

With support from The John Villiers Trust, the Top Blokes Foundation has worked with the community to establish their programs in Toowoomba, and this week the first cohort of boys is graduating.

Following a call for support from schools and community leaders in the Toowoomba region, Top Blokes applied for a grant from JVT to establish their programs for young males in the region.

Top Blokes’ programs aim to develop resilience, empathy and respect for self and others, helping to ultimately reduce the rates of mental health issues, suicide, and anti-social and risk-taking behaviours. Read more here.

JVT’s grant of over $280,000 provides funding for Top Blokes to hire local youth workers, set up an advisory panel, introduce their programs to local schools, and establish local partnerships that will sustain their programs longer term.

Now, Top Blokes is celebrating the graduation of its first cohort of 66 boys and young men who have participated in their programs.

Top Blokes’ Queensland State Manager Rachel Hinds said the program was already seeing great results in the region with 66 young males already completing their program.

“The boys who graduated this week have completed our six-month program, which comprises weekly workshops covering a range of topics including anger management, fostering positive mental health, peer pressure, masculinity, risk-taking, consent, intimate relationships, racism, and power and privilege,” Rachel said.

“This is just the first cohort of many, as we aim to support over 550 young males in the Toowoomba region over the first three years of the program.

“Thanks to JVT’s funding, we have been able to work closely with the community to establish the programs that will benefit their boys now and into the future, and we’re looking forward to building local partnerships that will allow the programs to continue for many years to come.”

JVT CEO Lea-Anne Bradley said the work of organisations like Top Blokes demonstrated how philanthropy can result in long-term, sustainable change in country communities.

“When we work in partnership with local schools, businesses, leaders and support services like Top Blokes, we can make a real, long-lasting impact in the lives of individuals and ultimately their broader communities,” Lea-Anne said.

“It’s been fantastic to see Top Blokes already establishing deep relationships within the community, engaging so effectively with local schools, and sharing their lessons learned along the way.

“The 66 boys and young men who are graduating today can now benefit from the mentoring they’ve participated in, and continue to build on what they’ve learned to support their positive mental health and wellbeing now and into the future.

“Congratulations to the boys graduating today, and to Top Blokes on bringing their program to life in partnership with the community of Toowoomba and surrounding regions!”