Lisa Ahlam: Heart, patience, passion

Koch Centre's Lisa Ahlem is passionate about creating better opportunities for young people experiencing disadvantage.
Lisa Ahlem youth worker

For the past two years, Lisa Ahlam has been working at Youth Off The Streets’ Koch Centre for Youth & Learning as a youth worker, helping to create a safe space for young people to re-engage with community, education and employment.

Along with a team of five at the centre, they work with over 150 young people each week in the Macquarie Fields area and surrounds. Lisa tells us a little bit about what it’s like to be a youth worker in her community.

Lisa, what encouraged you to become a youth worker?

Growing up, I did not know what it was like to not have proper support or a positive role model.

Becoming a youth worker was a way that I could offer something I did not experience and that is, to be a good role model and be there for young people who might be struggling.

What led you to becoming a youth worker for Youth Off The Streets?

I heard about all the work that Father Chris Riley and the Koch team were doing with the young people in the community and I wanted to be a part of it. I have never worked alongside such passionate, hardworking, open minded people and to be a part of the team here at Koch has been a blessing and a great learning experience.

Can you describe what an average day is like at The Koch Centre for Youth & Learning?

There is never just an ‘average day’ here at Koch. Like most of our programs across the organisation, we deliver multiple services for our young people and the local community. I believe we achieve great results because we have such a great team and most mornings, we begin our day with coffee and a smile.

Then it’s work, work, work which includes case management, partnership meetings, court support, juvenile justice programs, school initiatives, community engagement and food preparation for our evening programs. That is just a snapshot of some of the things we do here at Koch.

What do you personally love most about working at a youth agency like The Koch Centre for Youth & Learning?

I have never worked in an organisation, especially within a service like this, where we have the full support of the community and surrounds in relationship to the work we do. It’s awesome to see a shared passion for creating better opportunities for our young people.

What are some important things a youth worker should always keep in mind?

A youth worker must have heart, patience and passion.

I believe these are some of the most important attributes you need have if you want to be a youth worker. Youth workers should never be afraid to share their own journey and they should always be a role model for others.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Having the opportunity to work for Youth Off The Streets has helped me to become a good youth worker, however, this would not be possible without the people around me for all that they contribute to my growth and development here.

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