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Australian city provides indestructible 'Infonote' for the wallets of teens.

The Box Hill City Council in Victoria (Australia) has produced a tough and durable wallet-size access guide for young people, the exact size of a ten dollar bill. Designed to last, to take rough treatment and frequent handling, the "Infonote" is printed on high density polyethylene paper that is waterproof, tear resistant and will not rot.

A project of the community services department of the city of 50,000, the Infonote carries the names and phone numbers of more than 40 organizations in Box Hill and elsewhere that are able to assist young people with a wide range of information and support. Organizations are arranged under such categories as:

* Accommodations * Finance and support * Legal aid * Sexual health * Recreation and leisure * Education and employment * Alcohol and drug support, and * Council services

Youth counselor Colleen Cousins who coordinated the project, says: "There are about seven thousand 15 to 24 year-olds living in Box Hill. The Infonote is an attempt at improving their access to those organizations and services that can assist them." Publication of the Infonote was made possible by funding from the city council plus sponsorship from the state's Department of Employment, Education and Training, along with two local teen age groups. Members of the Box Hill Youth Council are participating in its distribution to young people throughout the municipality, and a number of local young people were involved in the project by advising Colleen about the kind of data to include in the note.

Colleen adds: "The wallet size enabled us to include much more information than would have been possible with a small card, and its non-destructive features make it ideally suited to be kept in a wallet, purse or pocket for a long period of time. Whether a person needs confidential advice in a crisis or perhaps just the phone number of the local swimming pool, details on how to get in touch are readily accessible." The four color design and wear resistance of the Infonote, derivative of a banknote, is expected to encourage young people to retain it and to have it with them at all times for quick access to information and support.

The International Center of the Academy for State and Local Government (444 North Capitol Street, NW, Suite 345, Washington, D.C. 20001; (202) 434-4850) has available a few copies of the Infonote, generously made available by the Box Hill City Council, to share with requesting subscribers who may be tempted to adapt this good idea to the needs of their own communities.
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Title Annotation:reprinted from a Public Innovation Abroad article; Box Hill, Australia
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Nov 16, 1992
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