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KELY Support Group was founded by Ms. Samantha Martin, a young woman who was overcoming her drug addiction in August. She chose the name KELY as an acronym for "Kids Everywhere Like You".
KELY was officially launched from a peer support network with the name "Kids Everywhere Like You"
In the same year, Mrs. Anne Marden and Ms. Michelle Yeoh became the official Patrons for KELY. We also developed partnerships with over half of the international schools and developed a strong reputation within the English-speaking schools in Hong Kong.
KELY invited Rey Carr of Peer Resources Consulting Group, an internationally recognised authority on Peer Support in Canada, to deliver workshops and some informational sessions to our staff, volunteers and Hong Kong’s local schools in a week.We officially launched our 24-hour Cantonese hotline service dedicated to local Chinese youth.
Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Gloucester attended the morning reception held by KELY. Our board, staff, sponsors and volunteers were on hand to meet with The Duchess of Gloucester.
KELY organised its first dinner theatre fundraiser on 27 April.
"Wanchai Live 3" was launched as a fundraiser involving young people to play in bands and battling it out with each other on 10 May.
We held a “KELY Have A Hug Day” in December, which was also the first ever Hug Day in Hong Kong, aiming at increasing awareness of positive contact between people, and raising funds for Operation Santa Claus 2001 by selling badges.
Note: Operation Santa Claus 2001 selected KELY as its sole charity beneficiary and helped raise $3.6 million.
We moved into a new office at 12 Borrett Road (where we have continued to operate until now!), with the funding from Hong Kong Jockey Club.
KELY staff was invited to Melbourne to be trained with the Cirque du Monde in skills such as basic acrobatics and juggling, which were then taught to young adults.
KELY Circus School collaborated with Cirque du Soleil to give performances incorporating young adults, throughout Hong Kong.
We launched a teen publication, Match Magazine, which was created by over 130 secondary school students and distributed locally to more than 500 schools, youth agencies and public libraries. Although the world of media has changed since then, we continue to publish content for youth, by youth, through our online channels. Our hope is to amplify young people's voices, nurture their creativity, and gain practical experience.
On 25th September, Celebrity Chow Yun Fat was on hand to meet with KELY staff and volunteers upon Kiehl’s Hong Kong donation to KELY.
On 11th December, Peninsula Hotel donated a cheque of HKD$737,000 to KELY. Michelle Yeoh , Michael Wong, and Alan Zeeman are on hand to present the cheque
On 7th October, KELY organised its first charity ball at the Shangri-la Hotel in Kowloon, raising over $300,000 for the organization, with Celebrity Carl Ng being the master of the ceremony.
Christopher To, a well known Rotarian and influential figure was appointed to the Board; Professor Freedom Leung, psychologist from Chinese University agreed to provide ongoing pro-bono consultation to KELY.
Princess Alexandra the youngest granddaughter of King George, met the KELY team at the Carlton Ritz.’
The Former Governor, Mr.Chris Patten paid a second visit to KELY and attempted to find us funding through the Coins Fund.
We relaunched a bilingual phone helpline dedicated to young people with funding from the Lee Hysan Foundation and CSL Limited Hong Kong.
On 10th July, Skin Inks teamed up with KELY to raise money for the organisation. KELY’s flag was waved at the Pole by Dr. Bower and at Mount Everest by Martin Hill.
In our 20th year, we rolled out our first responsible drinking campaign and intervention at the Hong Kong Sevens – the largest sporting event in Hong Kong. The public awareness campaign and intervention involved setting up a safe space where young people could get help, rest and recover, and engage in fun, alcohol-free activities. This was the beginning of our signature SOSKELY harm reduction programme - our outreach team and volunteers can be found at major sporting events and music festivals such as the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens, Road to Ultra, Creamfields and Clockenflap!
We also kicked off our Stand Up and Say Something! Research - youth-driven research that was the first of its kind in Hong Kong, where young people could determine the issues they cared about and how they wanted the issues to be heard and addressed. The first series of research focused on supporting youth who might be vulnerable to drug abuse.
KELY launched Talk2Me IM, a pilot bilingual WhatsApp helpline for young people in need of emotional and psychological support. Our team of experienced counsellors and psychologists provided immediate support, conducted quick mental health assessments, and offered referrals to additional services where needed.
KELY was invited to participate "International Expert Meeting on Education Sector Responses to Substance Use Among Children and Young People '', jointly hosted by UNESCO, WHO and UNODC in Istanbul, Turkey. Following this important event, KELY's approach to prevention work was cited as a case study in a UN report on "Education sector responses to the use of alcohol, tobacco and drugs''.
We launched Operation Big Bird, an investigation of youth accessibility to alcohol in Hong Kong. Over the two years of data gathered from 'mystery shopper' operations and surveys, we found that there were few restrictions on young people purchasing alcohol, and ID checks were few and far between. This data was key to our advocacy efforts, in 2018, the Hong Kong government enacted a new law to restrict the sales of alcohol to minors across retail stores in Hong Kong.
In collaboration with the Equal Opportunities Commission and Lingnan University, we organised “Own Voices Breaking Stereotypes”, a film screening for a documentary produced by two ethnic minority youth, featuring first-hand perspectives of ethnic minorities. The documentary was aimed at breaking racial stereotypes and amplifying the voice of ethnic minority youth in Hong Kong.
To adapt to the evolving needs of our young people, KELY focused our collective programming under 3 core areas – mental health & wellbeing, drug and alcohol awareness and positive youth development. With this transition, we welcomed more new team members and created new partnerships to extend and expand our ability to reach and support more youth.