Paul’s campaign against senseless youth violence wins backing of Redland Bombers
Report: Jeff Stephenson
PAUL Stanley has spent the best part of 10 years trying to get his message across to thousands of Queensland teenagers the devastation that can result from youth violence and the overbearing grief one punch can bring.
It has become his reason for being.
The programs he has fronted and the hundreds of talks he gives around the State impress upon Year 12 students the notion of non-violence and youthful respect among young people.
He can say, for sure and certain, the message is getting through – it’s just that there’s no measure on exactly how many youngsters he’s getting through to.
“If one kid comes along and says to me ‘you’ve changed my life’ then all the presentations, the talks, the confrontations, they’ve been worth it.”
His work will be taken a step further next weekend in Redland’s clash with Aspley at Tidbold Park when special jumpers worn by the Bombers’ players will be auctioned after the match and the funds donated to the Matthew Stanley Foundation.
Paul’s son Matthew, a popular 15-year-old, was tragically killed by a single punch at a party in Alexandra Hills in September, 2006.
Despite their terrible grief Paul and his wife, Kay, established the Foundation, which works with the police, ambulance services, schools, churches and community groups to spread the message about violence.
The programs have widened to include the Party Safe initiative and the One Punch Can Kill campaign with police cars and ambulance vehicles carrying stickers urging young people in potentially violent situations to Walk Away Chill Out.
Paul believes his work is “something in life I’ve got to do, because I know it’s the right thing to do.”
“You know, it’s every parents’ nightmare to put your child into the ground. You never get over it. Ever.”
Upon telling the story of his son’s death and the ramifications he is greeted with plenty of tears, but also receives a good deal of positive feedback from young and old alike.
“Yes, it’s very positive. Just what it means long-term? Well, that’s what you don’t know.”
Paul takes pride in instances such as when the Mackay police told him there had been a reduction in violence in the CBD since he started spreading his message.
And it’s a full-on, no holds barred, confrontational message.
“Obviously that reduction has not been all up to me, but I believe and the police in Mackay believe, the presentations have been a major factor”.
Already this year he’s spoken at more than 100 State and Private schools and there’s plenty more booked for the remainder of 2017.
When told Redland Football Club was seeking to make August 5 the support the Matthew Stanley Foundation Charity Day he was “overcome”.
“It’s unbelievable and typical of the great community spirit.
“Using a sporting club – particularly a footy club, no matter the code – is especially pointed.
“To know the Redland players support the cause is gratifying because younger players and other youngsters look up to them.
“It’s really winning support from the good guys.
“I think it’s fantastic that the Redland club is supporting what we are trying to do.”
This is the fifth Charity Day held by the Bombers with previous years backing Beyond Blue, Cam’s Cause, the Kim Walters Choices Foundation and the Point Lookout-Coochiemudlo Surf Lifesaving Club.
This year’s special day is supported by the Attitudinal Driving Workshop, which holds a monthly meeting at Victoria Point Sharks Club aimed at teaching drivers about poor attitudes on our roads.
The workshops, now backed by the courts, are also graphic and show the disastrous results of poor decision-making.
Neil Punchard,(pictured) who has been the workshop co-ordinator since 2012, said they target young and inexperienced drivers as well as those who haven’t learned their lesson to become more safe and responsible road users.
The workshops cost $5 with the resulting funds going to charity.
In this case, the workshops have been able to cover the cost of the jumpers the players will be wearing.
“We are very happy to be supporting this Charity Day,” Mr Punchard said.
Mr Dave Tidbold, (pictured) principal at Tidbold Real Estate, Victoria Point, which is Redland Football Club’s platinum sponsor, is hugely supportive of the Charity Day.
“From our perspective, the day is about everyone coming together for a cause.
“It’s vital as far as our community is concerned to support the positives that come out of these campaigns, particularly when they impact on younger people,” Mr Tidbold said.
“We’re happy to support the Charity Day as it’s young players supporting the education of other young people.”
Redland Football Club Business Manager, Maree Thomson, said the club was thrilled to have the Matthew Stanley Foundation come on board.
She sees the Charity Day as an ideal vehicle “to give something back to the community”.
“It’s something we are passionate about and we will continue to work on ways to assist a charity where possible.
“We aim to work in with the community whenever we can.
“We’re hoping for a great result when the jumpers are auctioned after the game as the Matthew Stanley Foundation is so deserving of everyone’s support,’ she said.