We have many stories to share but for this year we are focussing on stories that illustrate the meaning of impact. Impact can be defined as “having a strong effect on someone or something” and in relation to our stories we focus on the strong positive effect on someone.
The stories that follow are just some among the many instances of positive impact our services have on those who we serve. These stories are the standout ones that illustrate what we do.
The Boronia Women’s Program provides an opportunity for mothers with young children, who are currently incarcerated at the Boronia Pre-Release Centre for Women, to participate in a playgroup with their children. The playgroup runs three times per week and is designed to encourage positive parenting, support wellbeing, and expand upon skills in areas, amongst others, cyber safety, cooking, sensory play, and exploring gratitude. During the 2021 – 2022 financial year we had 18 mothers and their children participate in the program.
One mother, who had regularly attended the playgroup while at Boronia, provided some feedback upon her release.
“Thank you for making me and my child so welcome. I get excited for every playgroup. You both are so nice and friendly. You genuinely care about our stories. Cater for all ages of our kids with toys. You both go above and beyond for all of us. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything. I will miss you both.”
The Remote School Attendance Strategy (RSAS) in Newman works closely with schools, families, parents, students, and community organisations to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children attend school each day.
Support is also provided to students to participate in junior sports programs. Normally these students would not have the opportunity to participate in the sport due to the challenges/barriers integrating into mainstream sports, for example registration paperwork, funding, and lack of family support for students to attend. Staff assist families to apply for Kids Sports Funding through DLGSC and where available funding that is available from other sources.
RSAS students have a classroom that sits outside the mainstream area within the school, which often results in judgment being passed on the RSAS students. One particular RSAS student, who has been known to have the school administration in ‘lockdown’ with his outbursts, was supported by the RSAS team to participate in the U16’s football team through the junior sports program.
With the positive impact of playing sport and the comradeship of his team mates, this young RSAS student has learned to manage his emotions exceptionally well at school. He now acknowledges when he needs to remove himself from the school because of how he is feeling and takes action himself. A ‘ticking time bomb’ no more!
The Y Vocational School provides a holistic education, recognising the uniqueness of every young person and working with each of our students to create a personal and sustainable pathway. The school offers a program for students in years 10,11 and 12.
We provide a safe environment where all young people keen to learn can enjoy a sense of belonging, regardless of their gender, sexuality, religion, or difference.
We work in partnership with students to build their self-worth and resilience, teaching self-regulation and inspiring positive attitudes and behaviours towards themselves, their families, and the school community, to encourage their success so they can become happy, healthy adults and thriving members of our communities.
On reflection of young student’s progress, a mother shared her daughter’s journey, so far, at the Y Vocational school. Her daughter who had very poor attendance at her old school has now completely changed her attitude about attending school. She is becoming more independent in terms of getting herself ready in the morning and being able to get to school on time.
Apart from attending school this young student is also attending her TAFE course twice a week and is even able to do some of her TAFE work at school and get some support from the staff to complete it.
“My daughter is in a much better place mentally now with all the support she is getting at school, and it has made such a difference to our family’, said the mother. “I was getting very worried about my daughter’s future, but I feel it is a lot brighter now that she [her daughter] is engaged in learning and a TAFE course.
The Base@Belmont Youth Centre provides support for young people between the ages of 11-25 through a variety of activities, workshops and programs.
Birthdays are fun when you get to celebrate with cake and party food. However, birthdays are not fun when your family don’t bother to celebrate with you. This was the case for one of our young people who has accessed the Base@Belmont for many years. The youth centre is the young person’s main connection to peers of the same age, as well as supportive and understanding adults.
The 16-25 Group decided to surprise this young person with a celebration of their birthday by sharing a cake and party food together. A special birthday indeed!
The Child and Parent Centre (CPC) South Hedland initiative provides early childhood support, services, and programs to parents with children up to 8 years of age, including parents expecting children.
A new mum, who recently moved to Port Hedland with no other family residing in the town, attended the Play at the Park program with her child. Initially she was extremely shy and did not engage much with the other parents. This left her socially isolated with limited knowledge of local services that would support her and her child.
Through the encouragement of staff, she now attends playgroup every week and has slowly made new social connections through the playgroup and feels more confident when she attends. She was able to get information on local services that operate from the CPC and where to access services in Hedland. From coming to playgroup and meeting new friends she no longer feels socially isolated and now feels more connected to her community.
Toby (22) has his own business Sidenote Sounds that focuses on live production and recording songs. He has brought in his equipment and with permission recorded young people as part of the Y HQ’s Demo Days program, which has had the bands receive radio play and performance opportunities.
Toby is now our dedicated in-house technician, a role not usually given to someone young, but Toby has proven his worth. His business now caters to HQ and various other small-mid tier professional venues and large entertainment venues with some of the best networks in WA for career development.
We are extremely proud of Toby for using HQ as his place to learn, make mistakes and apply critical thinking which puts him above peers when applying for jobs.
Our experienced case workers provide a safe space for young people to explore and seek support for issues which affect them. Support is tailored for each young person based on their unique needs.
Opening a bank account may not seem like a big deal, but when you have no-one to ask for help to open one, it can feel impossible. This was a situation that a young person found themselves in. Through accessing support at The Y HQ, one of our case workers supported this young person to open his first bank account. But it did not stop there. He was supported to enrol in a free budgeting session at HQ to learn the basics of saving and was helped to prepare his first resume.
October 2021 represented the third year of the Y’s award-winning Inside Our Minds campaign running across Western Australia, as well as nationally, highlighting young people’s experience of mental health to destigmatise the issue and start open dialogue. This year the Y showcased six young Indigenous people sharing their mental health lived-experiences.
Tragically twice as many Indigenous people are likely to die by suicide and be psychologically distressed than non-Indigenous Australians –a statistic we need to see reduced.
Twenty-year-old Jonathon Garlett, a Yamatji and Whadjuk man, chose to speak about his struggle with depression in his video, to connect with other young Indigenous people and help them make good choices. “Through my video, I want to show other young people that they’re not alone in their mental health struggles and they don’t need to turn to drugs and alcohol to cope,” Jonathon said. “I want to encourage young Indigenous people to get help if they need it, and make the choice to avoid substance abuse, and instead connect with their culture.”
This year’s Inside Our Minds Coordinator, Midaiah Harnett, who was a participant in the first year of Inside Our Minds, hoped that providing a space for Indigenous young people to share their mental health journey will encourage other Indigenous young people to seek help. “When I shared my story two years ago, lots of young people got in contact, thanking me for my story and saying that it inspired them to reach out for help,” Midaiah said. “As a young person with several diagnosed mental health illnesses and disorders, including bi-polar disorder and autism spectrum disorder, this showed me how valuable it is to platform diverse voices and reach the young people who are often not represented.
“The decision to highlight a few of the mental health struggles some Indigenous young people have experienced in the hope that others, perhaps with even bigger mental health challenges, realise they’re not alone, that other Indigenous young people who might appear sorted have actually had a journey to get to this point. Even if this series of videos only helps one person, I feel it’s been worthwhile! We need to destigmatise mental health issues, so people don’t feel ashamed or isolated. Reaching out is the first step –it takes courage but it’s worth it!” explained Midaiah.
The Y’s national youth publication platform continues to excel at amplifying the thoughts, opinions, questions, ideas and stories of young Australians.
In the 21-22 Financial Year, the WhyNot platform has published 80 pieces – a 157% increase from the previous year!
Over the last 12 months, 22 were published from WA – an increase from two the year before.
The WhyNot platform brings the Y’s belief statement to life. It provides young people across the country an opportunity to share their voices, experiences, and unfiltered thoughts through a supportive editing, publishing, and promotion process in which they are paid for their work.
As a result of working with WhyNot, 66.3% of those who responded to WhyNot’s Contributor survey indicated they strongly agreed and 31.3% indicated they agreed with the statement, “I feel my voice has been heard and valued”.
The platform also provides the young people who run the platform, the Editorial Committee, an opportunity for personal and professional development, to flex their own creative muscles, and to bring meaningful impact to young contributors through publishing their work and amplifying their voices.
One young person shared, “WhyNot made it easy to get my voice and my opinions out in the world, and I feel like my contributions have the potential to make a difference or inspire others.”
Read some pieces from WA young people here!