Father Chris Riley on Social Inclusion Week

Social Inclusion Week runs from 25 November to 3 December and encourages communities to reconnect with one another and give people the opportunity to feel valued and connected to society. Social isolation can often lead young people to engage in negative behaviour. As a community we need to join together to combat marginalisation and ensure that young people feel included in society. Social Inclusion Week is a good starting point, providing us with the opportunity to get involved in community events and gatherings for the benefit of young disaffected people.

But we must not stop there. Education is the key factor to breaking down the cycle of social isolation. Youth Off The Streets invests heavily in our education programs and activities, creating opportunities for young people to learn valuable skills and engage with one another.

Our dedication to Education saw my organisation opening of two new school sites in 2017. Reaching communities in need to ensure young people not only get a quality education, but have a place to feel welcome is paramount to enacting social inclusion.

Our Outreach programs engage and connect young people, giving them access to fun activities and programs including sports, music and dance, education, volunteering and community projects. These programs are all about connecting with local communities, building relationships and networks, and addressing social isolation and exclusion.

I believe that all young people should be given the chance to achieve their full potential. That is why we continue to work so hard to develop programs within our services to ensure that our young people feel included and valued, providing them with opportunities to engage in their local communities and society.

You too can do your part in the community, so get involved, volunteer, and connect with your local community, friends and family to support our young people during Social Inclusion Week.

-Father Chris Riley, CEO and Founder at Youth Off The Streets

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