On Wednesday 30 October, Youth Off the Streets Hunter Valley Outreach hosted a lunch to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of their program in the area.
Our supporters and members of the community heard about the inspirational work of Father Chris Riley and Youth Off The Streets in the Hunter Valley.
Over the 10 years we have run our Outreach program in the Hunter Valley we have facilitated over 1,500 activities for young people and supported 4,000 clients through help with school, employment and individual advocacy. Our outreach model helps marginalised young people in disadvantaged communities make positive changes in their lives for a brighter future. We do this by providing safe, structured and supervised programs. We aim to improve young people’s access to social resources and services in an engaging and safe environment. Through the provision of positive diversionary activities and soft entry opportunities young people have the opportunity to interact, socialise and connect with Youth Off The Streets youth workers. The long term effect of these programs help to create respectful social connections and encourage positive life choices. At the same time, Outreach services help develop community awareness and support by strengthening ties with the local community
Whilst we have been running Outreach in the Hunter for 10 years, we have actually been working in the region for close to 20 years. ‘Holborow House’ was officially opened in 1999 and was born from a shared belief of Father Riley and Children’s Court Magistrate Barbara Holborow that, ‘children deserve a second chance and that community and society are responsible for their children”. Holborow House was a residential rehabilitation program for young males who were homeless as a result of substance use or family breakdown and/ or abuse. The program was originally funded by the Youth Off The Streets opportunity shops from Singleton and Maitland, both of which are still running to this day.
Ranna Peera, Director of Outreach Services, addressed the crowd and gave valuable insight into our new suspension program in the Hunter Valley.
“We are very excited to have launched our new suspension program this year with thanks to The Greater Charitable Foundation. Our staff in the Hunter Valley have been working closely with young people during the time in which they are suspended to ensure they are still engaged in their education. Under the program our case worker works one on one with young people to address the underlying causes of the suspension and work to facilitate a successful return back into school.”
Alongside the suspension program, we continue to offer a much needed service in the form of mobile outreach, educational workshops, recreational programs and access to a drop-in centre, giving young people the opportunity to receive assistance and support from our trained youth workers and interact with peers in a safe environment. The provision of these services has been made possible through the support of many community and corporate partners, particularly our longest term corporate supporter, the Bloomfield Group Foundation, who have been part of our program since the beginning of our journey in the Hunter Region.
Youth Off The Streets would also like to thank Cessnock Leagues Club for hosting the event.
We are looking forward to continuing to make a difference for the young people and the community of Hunter Valley. We would like to thank The Bloomfield Group Foundation, The Greater Charitable Foundation, Cessnock Leagues Club, Singleton Diggers as well as every member of the local community, community groups, fundraisers and volunteers, for their continued support and for making all this possible.