“The Youth Centre is good because less people are hanging out on the streets and they are in a good space and you know that people will always be here for you and that there is always someone to talk to.”Jake, 14yrs
Creating a safe space for young people is a shared responsibility between the community, the government and the not for profit sector services. For young people with complex behavioral and emotional needs, the MYST youth centres provide a safe and friendly place for young people to congregate and socialise, as well as take part in innovative programs, which are both educational and recreational.
In many cases our youth workers are seen by clients as the most reliable and trust worthy adult in their life. Because of our emphasis on constructive relationships, vulnerable and at-risk young people have someone to turn to in times of need, which means they receive timely and meaningful support to overcome the issues impacting their lives.
Positive social interactions provide young people with stimulating activities and a place where they can engage and reflect on the world around them. The Youth Centres reduce the risk of harm for young people by providing a safe, comfortable and supportive environment, where young people can improve their socialisation skills and build self-esteem as they reflect on their successes.
Without this service there would be more young people in our community experiencing hardship, distress and crisis without appropriate or meaningful support. Unresolved or unchecked these issues often escalate resulting in eventual crisis and long term damage to the young person.
At MYST we focus on a strengths based approach in working with disadvantaged young people. Working in a range of public spaces and contexts, including online, outreach workers are able to identify young people who might not be able to access a youth centre and can provide information and supported referrals to other services. The outreach program engages young people in their own environment, starting with a low key engagement until trust and acceptance is developed into a formal mentoring relationship.
We know that not all young people are engaged in school, and we also know that not all young people will choose to attend a youth centre. For this reason our staff undertakes a range of assertive outreach activities with a view to engaging the most vulnerable and hard to reach young people.