Life-changing role

Mount Gambier born actor Jack Ellis has recently bought NSW Goodfellas, a school presentation franchise of Enlighten Education which teaches high school boys about mental health.

Mr Ellis has spoken to thousands of boys nationwide over the last six years as a senior presenter and is now stepping into the role of program director.

Mr Ellis left the Limestone Coast in 2006 when he was 18 after completing his schooling at Mount Gambier High School, but still has family in the region.

He starts his presentation with his story about growing up in Mount Gambier, before exploring myths associated with being a teenage boy in his seminar style workshop.

Mr Ellis said he believes there were strong stereotypes engrained in boys and girls growing up in the country.

“I had a bit of a split personality, I was an AFL player and I wanted to be one of the boys and wanting to be one of the popular kind of masculine boys but I also had a love of the performing arts and drama,” he said.

“I do a lot of personal story telling and that’s where my acting background and my history in performing arts really comes out in order to connect further with the boys through personal stories about growing up in Mount Gambier.

“I tell them that story just so I can form a bit of a personal connection with the audience.

“I get a real need to connect with country students as much as these urban kids as well.”

Mr Ellis said it was really rewarding work.

“I always think if I can affect one person, great but all in all I’m definitely having a positive effect on hundreds of boys, not just one person,” he said.

“I feel like I am making a difference.

“It’s super fun to have these challenging, confronting, sometimes a little bit triggering conversations.

“I’m not there as a high school teacher so I can be a bit more abrupt and honest and authentic with these themes and I think that allows that connection to be even stronger because I’m there just for four hours and have a quite a strong impact within that amount of time.”

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