“My favourite thing about working at Youth Off The Streets is its rich cultural diversity,” says Beny Bol, Engagement and Support Program Manager in Logan, Queensland.
“Everyone is encouraged and supported to reach their full potential based on their ability and not their background.”
Youth Off The Streets has provided support to young people and the community in Logan every week since our outreach program was established there in 2013.
Our team of youth workers specialise in delivering early intervention services aimed at engaging young people in the spaces that work for them.
Some of these services include after-hours mobile street outreach, skill-building workshops, a drop-in centre, leadership programs, community events and recreational activities that promote community engagement and enhance personal safety and wellbeing.
“We run a few special programs outside of our regular outreach programs too,” Beny explains.
“Our ‘Kicking Goals 2 Transition’ youth justice support program runs inside a juvenile detention centre and helps young offenders who’ve been locked up.”
“Our primary focus with these young people is on personal goal-setting and information sessions to facilitate their transition back into the community when they get released.
“We also run a Court House support program, Street Walk, and a Family Support program, which target disengaged youth who are out of school.”
Beny has worked with Youth Off The Streets for eight years and knows that it takes passion, patience and dedication to work effectively with young people experiencing disadvantage.
“I remember one young person who came to us in 2014,” he reflects. “It was tough to break through at first, but eventually we were able to connect him with one of our youth workers.
“With the support of the youth workers and our outreach staff, he got his learner driver licence and an 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.”
Despite the challenges that come with the job, Beny continues to provide outstanding support for young people in need.
He has received several awards for his positive impact on the lives of young people, including recognition in the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours list and a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his work in youth justice.
Beny was also one of 63 people selected nationally for the Queen’s Birthday COVID-19 Honours List for his outstanding contribution to Australia’s response to the pandemic.
Another recent achievement is his appointment to the key ministerial Youth Justice Strategy Advisory Group 2020–2023 by Queensland’s Minister for Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs.
“The lack of resources to meet all the needs of vulnerable young people can be frustrating, as can the sometimes slow nature of the positive changes we see. But at the end of the day, it’s the victories that keep me going.”