Supporting boys on a different path

There's a handful of Christchurch boys identified as likely to embark on a career path which will shortly begin with petty crime and lead them onto bigger and more destructive crimes.

However, there is also a dedicated group of people working with those boys and their families to support them onto a more positive and productive path.

CIAL has recently become a proud sponsor of the programme to enable the intensive long-term interventionist support these boys and their families require - and the whole city will benefit from.

Airport CEO Jim Boult says he's very impressed by the work being done by the Re-focus programme, which is part of the Canterbury Youth Development Programme.

"The Re-focus staff team sign up to "do whatever it takes' to keep the boys at school, actively engaged and learning until they reach Year 11." They pledge five years of intensive support for the boy and his family, to keep them on the right track, through education, sport, cultural activities and whatever else might be needed," he says.

"It's not work for the faint-hearted, but is a hugely impressive programme which will not only save children and their families, but also truckloads of taxpayer dollars. Every boy identified at this age as likely to end up in jail will cost you and me $10 million as he fulfils that prediction - this is the cost to the country of jail time for a lifetime criminal. The work by Re-focus will cost $50,000 and keep that boy on the right side of the law.

"Sponsoring this work is a no-brainer for community-minded organisations like ours. While this falls under the heading of "social good" that CIAL supports, there is a real payback. Young thugs are the main offenders in crimes against and racial abuse of tourists, so we see our support as part of our work in the tourism sector."