“My favourite thing about working at Youth Off The Streets is its richness in cultural diversity. Everyone is encouraged and supported to reach their full potential based on their individual abilities and not their backgrounds.” – Beny Bol
Youth Off The Streets has come a long way since it began in 1991 with Father Riley on a horse with his dog on the streets of Kings Cross. He credits this to the strength of his staff and the people behind him.
“I couldn’t do what I do today without the dedicated staff that I have,” says Father Riley. “It is essential that we have the right people for the work that we do and Youth Off The Streets is fortunate to have staff that are passionate about improving the lives of our young people.”
Youth Off The Streets works locally and employs within the community, to ensure our young people are given the best access to services within their local area. Our services are now located across New South Wales, Queensland and, most recently, Victoria, to best respond to communities in need. These services are run by our “heroes in the field” – from youth workers, teachers, to counsellors, who are committed to breaking the cycle of disadvantage and giving kids in Australia a fair go.
One such hero is Beny Bol, our program manager for Logan Outreach in Queensland. Beny’s determination and positive attitude has a big impact on the young people he works with in Logan, and now Wyndham, Victoria.
Where Beny and his team arguably make the biggest difference is in their specialised programs for disengaged youth.
“We run a few special programs outside of our regular outreach programs. Our Kicking Goals 2 Transition program runs inside a juvenile detention centre and helps young offenders who’ve been locked up. Our primary aim focuses on personal goal-setting and information sessions in order to facilitate their transition back in to the community when they get released. We also have a Court House support program and boxing program which target disengaged youth who are out of school.”
Managing Logan Outreach’s three weekly outreach services can be tricky enough, especially when up to 90 young people can turn up at any one time, but Beny and the rest of our Logan team go that extra mile to provide a safe and fun environment.
“Our activities range from sports, art, social games and skating,” says Beny, “The team organises various activities to ensure young people have options and can choose what activities they like.”
Once young people engage in the activities, youth workers can start to interact and support them in practical ways. Beny manages his team very well – evident through winning the “Manager of the Year” award at Youth Off The Streets in 2017 – and says that his team remains patient until they find success.
“I remember one kid who came to us in 2014. It was tough to break through at first, but eventually we were able to get him in touch with our youth worker Natasha. With support from Natasha and outreach staff he went on to secure his learner’s licence and apprenticeship. It isn’t always easy and it’s important to be patient, but those success stories are the reason we come to work every day.”
Beny has been part of the Youth Off The Streets family for five years, so he knows that it takes passion, patience and dedication to work properly and effectively with young people every day. Like every job, some days are tougher than others.
“Feeling rejected by some young people, a lack of adequate resources to completely meet the all the complex needs of our clients, and even slow positive progress with helping young people can really put a dampener on the job. But at the end of the day, it’s the victories that keep me going.”