Eight semi-finalists were selected from an exceptionally high-quality field of 62 not for profit organisations working to improve the lives of Sydney’s young people at risk.
The Aurora Outreach Program
Aurora Education Foundation was established in 2009, with the mission to inspire the academic aspirations and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Its vision is an Australia where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander success, prosperity and achievement, is just the way things are. Aurora’s programs engage and support Indigenous students to build the academic skills needed to reach their career goals, whether this is by graduating from high school with the foundational skills necessary to run their own small business, or by attending TAFE or university, or even completing a doctorate at Harvard University. Aurora believes engaging Indigenous students in education is the way to create deep, lasting change.
Aurora is a national organisation with programs in various states reaching over 11,000 students a year. It delivers a suite of interconnected programs that walk with Indigenous students through each stage of their educational development and build their resilience, identity, aspirations and sense of community.
Indigenous young people look to their own community for role models, advice and support. The Gaama outreach program will deliver 13 student outreach workshops to 390 Sydney-based Indigenous high school students (Year 7-12). Students will come together with Indigenous academic role models, hear their education success stories, directly meet them in person, ask questions and be inspired to follow in their footsteps. This is a new program for Aurora which will see Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander university students and graduates link up with Indigenous high school students, initially in Sydney then across Australia, to support them to realise and fulfil their academic potential and consider the possibilities open to them in the world of tertiary education.
Indigenous Australians experience significantly poorer outcomes than non-Indigenous Australians at every stage of education, from school through to postgraduate study. Nationally, for every 100 Indigenous Year 8 students, only 3 will be eligible for university on the basis of their marks. We know this is not because Indigenous students lack potential, but because of the impact of socioeconomic disadvantage, discrimination, low expectations and lack of role models. Through independent evaluators Nous Group Aurora has robust evaluation data demonstrating the success of its programs.
batyr was established in 2011 by Sebastian Robertson after his struggles with mental health during his time at university. It was created to destigmatise mental ill health and increase the help seeking rate through sharing stories of lived experiences with mental health issues. batyr’s vision is an Australia where young people engage in positive conversations about mental health and are empowered to seek out help when needed. Its mission is to deliver innovative peer-to-peer programs that engage, educate and empower young people. batyr programs focus on addressing issues that impact the mental health of young people, and promote resilience and help seeking behavior.
batyr provides programs that train young people to speak about their personal experience with mental ill health and start a conversation in their community, helping to break down the stigma surrounding mental health. batyr then takes these young people into schools and universities across the country to share their story in structured and dynamic programs that empower other young people to reach out for support from a wide range of mental health services around them (e.g. school counselor, GP, Headspace or Lifeline).
Suicide is the leading course of death in young people, aged between 15 and 24 (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2011, p.21), this needs to change! Despite 1 in 4 young people suffering from mental ill health by the end of adolescence, mental health is not openly discussed and remains the ‘elephant in the room’. Mental ill health holds a stigma that prevents open and frank exchanges, creating a barrier to young people getting the help they need. According to the 2013 National Mental Health Report, stigma is the issue of most concern for people living with mental ill health having the “potential to inhibit help seeking, increase the experience of psychological distress and adversely impacting upon the recovery process” (p.43-44).
With funding from Impact100 Sydney North, batyr will deliver 40 structured and engaging batyr@school programs in North Sydney. The project will target 6,000 school students aged 14-18 years. Recently batyr completed a Masters study with Macquarie University that proved the impact of its programs on reducing stigma and increasing help seeking through professional services. However, currently batyr’s programs are scattered across regions and they have not as yet had the ability to hone in on an area with a targeted approach to reaching a large proportion of the student population. This project will enable the compilation of feedback from student surveys (approximately 6000) to present to the North Sydney Primary Health Network (PHN) in the hope of securing ongoing funding and creating a sustainable platform for batyr in North Sydney. If batyr can then work with the North Sydney PHN and showcase this work to the other 30 PHNs around the country, this could have an exponential impact on batyr and the mental health of young Australians.
For more information, please visit batyr Australia Ltd
Child’s Play Project – Out of Home Care
Dalwood Spilstead Service (DSS) has evolved from Dalwood Children’s Home which has supported children at risk since 1923. DDS provides multi-disciplinary early intervention including health, education and welfare support for vulnerable children under 9 years. These children are mainly referred by the NSW Family and Community Services (FACS) Child Protection service, as a result of trauma, abuse or neglect experienced due to family dysfunction or violence. An early intervention model of service delivery for children based on neuro-developmental research is utilised combined with strengths-based family counselling, parent education and volunteer home visiting.
The Impact100 Sydney North grant would fund the Child’s Play Project – Out Of Home Care which would utilise the cutting edge Neuro-sequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT) approach for 50 children at risk 0-12 years from across the Sydney Metropolitan area. These children, referred due to an identified history of significant trauma, will be provided with a comprehensive NMT assessment and individual intervention program. It is anticipated that referrals will be received for children in both the Child Protection or Out Of Home systems from the NSW FACS as well as several NGOs including the Benevolent Society, Anglicare and Phoenix Rising. These NGOs have demonstrated a high demand for the NMT Model assessment and intervention recommendations.
95% of brain development occurs in the first 5 years. Children from vulnerable families where there is parental stress, parental mental health problems, substance abuse or domestic violence are at risk of attention, language, learning and emotional problems due to the early trauma experienced in the home environment. Neuro-science is now dictating that these children require a “trauma informed” approach which is able to target the neuro-biological cause of dysfunction. Developed by Dr Bruce Perry, trauma expert from the Child Trauma Academy, Texas USA, the world’s best practice NMT is a developmentally-informed, biologically-respectful approach to working with at-risk children which provides a way to organize the child’s history and interpret current functioning.
The project aims to facilitate statistically significant improvements for participants in both measures of developmental and emotional functioning with Large Effect Size changes expected on all measures. Cost benefit analysis indicates that for every $1 spent in the provision of intensive early intervention there is a $17 saving in later costs to the community.
For more information please visit Dalwood Spilstead Service
Daystar Foundation was incorporated in 2001, and since then has helped many young people in disadvantaged situations and many lives have changed through its programs and hands-on approach in the community. Its mission is to work collaboratively with communities in order to create supportive environments that encourage young people to engage in their education and future career pathways, thereby empowering them to make informed life choices. Daystar creates positive change for socially and economically disadvantaged children, young people and families in the disadvantaged communities of South West Sydney.
Daystar is committed to breaking the destructive cycle caused by issues such as low literacy and numeracy, generational unemployment, low incomes, abuse, anti-social behaviour, obesity and poor health and cultural intolerance through programs including: in-school education programs to assist children at risk of not fulfilling their educational potential; literacy and employment skills training programs to transition people with multiple barriers into sustainable employment; community projects that connect the socially isolated with each other, other cultures, the wider community and the Australian way of life.
In 2012, Fairfield youth drug offences accounted for 75.7% of all youth drug offences in NSW. Fairfield is the most disadvantaged area in Sydney. In 2015 the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research reported that 79% of juvenile offenders are convicted of another offence within 10 years. With interventional programs, recidivism can be reduced by as much as 40%. Daystar will improve outcomes for young people in Fairfield who have been involved in the juvenile justice system by combining their expertise in training youth with skills for everyday living from Hume Housing Association and the “Fist Down” campaign.
Impact100 Sydney North’s grant will fund Drop-in IMPACT, a platform for young people up to age 25 years who are transitioning out of incarceration or who have found themselves on a downward spiral and in need of assistance to settle back into the local community as contributing citizens. Statistics show that without support, they are at risk of re-offending. This program will focus on the holistic growth of each young person, to ultimately put an end to re-offence, recidivism and disadvantage. The goal is to considerably reduce the incidences of re-offences by successfully redirecting people who have been involved in the justice system into civic life. Daystar aims for 100% success. To achieve this, their goals are: up to 60 targeted young people complete a ten-week program combining employment readiness with self-development skills; all of these young people secure a safe place to live with skills to manage the responsibility of living independently (including financial literacy, well-being and healthy affordable diet); they become empowered and positively influenced by the “Fist Down” campaign to turn their lives around for the better; at least 80% secure employment within three months of the end of the program or take up formal training. Employment may include one of Daystar’s social enterprises.
For more information, please visit Daystar Foundation
Information and Cultural Exchange (I.C.E.) provides creative access, equity and opportunity for vulnerable and disadvantaged Western Sydney communities. Since 1984 I.C.E. has collaborated with communities, artists and educators to build creative opportunity and social capacity in Western Sydney, and facilitate and produce community-determined art. I.C.E. objectives are to: provide creative and educative access, equity and opportunity for Western Sydney communities; contribute to and reveal the rich and evolving cultural life of Western Sydney; foster and increase community pride, cohesion and creativity.
Working specifically with Western Sydney at-risk youth, Aboriginal and CALD communities, asylum seekers, refugee/migrant families and people with disability, I.C.E. creates art, builds capacity, facilitates social inclusion, encourages community cohesion, amplifies community cultural development, and enhances our region’s vibrancy. For 34 years I.C.E. has been at the vanguard of community focused and driven art that is bold, imaginative and adventurous.
Its vision is Western Sydney communities empowered with the confidence, resources and opportunity to create art that drives social change. Their mission is to provide cultural and creative access, equity and opportunity. From 2013-2015 I.C.E. delivered 124 projects involving 1,975 participants. Nearly 20,000 people enjoyed I.C.E. live events and 22,058 community members used its studios and facilities. In this period I.C.E. grew self-generated revenue by 89% and achieved a 106% increase in print, online, TV and radio media coverage and employed 288 local Western Sydney artists/facilitators and educators.
With Impact100 Sydney North’s funding I.C.E. will run Barbershop, an innovative 15-month training/mentorship, personal development, creative production program for 100 at-risk young men (aged 14-21years) from Western Sydney (Auburn/Granville and Blacktown/Mt Druitt). Using barbering and digital creativity (music, photography, film) as inspirational engagement/education tools, Barbershop will disrupt entrenched patterns of education disengagement, unemployment and dysfunction. The program aims to engage at-risk young men who are struggling with negative conceptions and expectations of how to ‘be men’ from peers, cultural influences, the wider community, the media – and themselves. It is intended to redress low senior secondary retention rates e.g. Blacktown/Mt Druitt @ 38% (2012) and high levels of youth unemployment e.g. Blacktown/Mt Druitt @ 21.1% and Auburn/Granville @ 25% (2012).
For more information, please visit I.C.E.
Project Orange Sky Youth
Orange Sky is the world’s first free mobile laundry service for people experiencing homelessness, defined as the absence of safe, healthy and permanent accommodation. It was founded in Brisbane by two 20 year olds in October 2014. Since then the custom fitted vans have been servicing parks and drop in centres across Australia and the wider community with two industrial washers and dryers in each van. Now 812 volunteers manning 13 laundry vans and 3 shower vans wash 7.2 tonnes of laundry and provide over 150 showers to homeless people (who Orange Sky call friends) in over 100 locations throughout Australia every week.
Its mission is to positively connect communities with the objective of helping transition people out of homelessness by: restoring respect and a sense of dignity; raising health standards; developing positive and genuine connections and providing a sense of purpose and direction. The services provided to people experiencing homelessness include: free laundry and free showers from mobile vans; positive, genuine and non-judgmental conversations; skills training and casual employment opportunities. The target population is people living in poverty and people adversely impacted by natural disaster and those fleeing unsafe environments.
28,500 Australians are homeless in NSW. Of these 10,551 are under 25 years of age. In Sydney 42% of the city’s homeless are under 24. Impact100 Sydney North’s grant would fund Project Orange Sky Youth to provide training and employment opportunities for disadvantaged Sydney youth. This will restore a sense of purpose and prepare them for more permanent opportunities. The funds will enable Orange Sky to secure commercial laundry and screen-printing contracts and then recruit and train young people to execute these contracts. Orange Sky will provide casual employment for 45 young people at risk in the first year, 75 in year two and 150 in year three.
Orange Sky believes it can engage 60 volunteers, secure the support from 25 local businesses and create opportunities for 45 disadvantaged youth in the first year. They will assist young people transition from these opportunities to more permanent employment and predict the project will be self-funding at the expiry of the funds in 12 months. This will occur as Orange Sky builds the number of commercial contracts to support the cost of the operation.
For more information, please visit Orange Sky Australia
Building Resilience in Young People
Phoenix House Youth Services was established over 30 years ago and has a track record of youth support services for marginalised young people (aged 14 to 24 years) in the Northern Sydney region (extending from Mosman to Berowra). It provides early intervention and support services to the most challenged young people living in Northern Sydney, delivering life-changing outcomes. Self-sufficiency, ownership and being masters of their own success are guiding principles for all the young people they service. Its mission is to teaching marginalised young people to be ‘Learn Ready, Work Ready, Life Ready’ through innovative programs, with young people and their families, and in collaboration with partners and community. Phoenix House provides flexible education, work placements and life skills development for young people with challenging needs.
Its target client group is marginalised ‘at risk’ young people affected by a number of factors including: family breakdown, drug and or alcohol abuse, mental health issues, domestic violence and financial constraints and those directly experiencing psychological and mental health difficulties (anxiety and depression or eating disorders, behavioural issues, poor self-esteem and/or alcohol and other drug concerns).
Impact100 Sydney North’s grant would fund its ‘Life Ready’ strand, specifically the project Building Resilience in Young People. The project involves conducting a program to equip adolescents (aged 12- 15 years)with positive coping skills to better navigate experiences and effectively manage their feelings. The program is an evidence-based resilience program aimed at preventing anxiety and depression in youth and increasing resilience, self-confidence, self-esteem and increasing social emotional skills. Evidence also shows improved peer relationships and positive attitudes to learning make young people more ‘Life Ready’. The program will include: the FRIENDS Resilience program, a World Health Organisation (WHO) endorsed, evidence-based resilience aimed at preventing anxiety and depression in youth; and a cultural and adventure experience program, currently named ‘Active Tuesdays’, taking young people on new, exciting and educational excursions.
Participants will attend the program for up to 6 hours a week over a school term (10 weeks). 5 programs will be delivered in 4 to 5 different locations (Crows Nest, Chatswood, Gordon, Hornsby, Ryde or Epping) in Northern Sydney with 12-15 participants per program. They will be working with at least 60 people to build up their resilience. These young people are quite often homeless, highly anxious, isolated and not participating in our communities. They need supervision to do simple daily tasks such as cooking and budgeting, and inter-personal skills. Most young people are taught these skills in a family environment, however Phoenix House target groups’ learning foundations have been affected by many of the factors listed above.
For more information, please visit Phoenix House Youth Services
Take Kare Safe Spaces
Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation was established in 2012 following the death of Thomas Kelly from an unprovoked king-hit on a Sydney Street. Its mission is “Keep our Youth Safe”. Its objectives are to reduce the risk of violence and to get our youth home safely by: improving the safety and amenity of the public domain; providing a harm reduction service where vulnerable young people can access support and a safe place; reducing the risk of crime.
Impact100 Sydney North’s grant would help fund Take Kare Safe Spaces. The goal is to identify and/or offer support to vulnerable young people in keeping safe and/or getting home safely. The target demographic is 16-25 years of age with ‘Take Kare Safe Spaces’ conveniently located in 3 Sydney City CBD locations where young people frequent. The ‘Take Kare Safe Spaces’ provide a safe place to rest and to get assistance with getting home safely. Users of the ‘Safe Space’ can also be put into contact with other support services if required. ‘Take Kare Safe Space’ programs specifically target the 16-25 year old demographic, however the night time economy and the general community also benefit. Since December 2014 over 42, 000 people have been assisted as a result of the ‘Take Kare Safe Spaces’. Based on current and historical data the Kings Cross and Darling Harbour sites are projected to assist approximately 5500-6500 people per site, of which 50-60% will be young people aged 16-25.
In addition to ‘Take Kare Safe Spaces’, ‘Take Kare Ambassadors’ patrol the streets looking for vulnerable and/or alcohol affected young people to assist with safety, providing water, or getting back to the ‘Safe Space’. The ‘Take Kare Safe Space’ team communicate directly with City of Sydney CCTV Security and also work collaboratively with licensed premises security, LAC Police and NSW Ambulance Service. Vulnerable and/or intoxicated people are referred to the ‘Take Kare Safe Space’ by ‘Take Kare Ambassadors’, licensed premises, City of CCTV security staff, rangers, police, friends, and the general public. The ‘Safe Space’ is also referred by those who have utilised the space in the past.
The goal is to provide important and critical levels of assistance to over 42,000 vulnerable and intoxicated persons of which approximately 21,000 have been aged 18-25 years. The project provides aid to those who would have most likely otherwise required significant ambulatory assistance. Another significant tangible outcome is mitigating numerous incidents of potential violence by calling police to respond to aggravated persons and hence preventing incidents of crime. Often vulnerable young people are passed out and picked up off the street, these people are taken care of and assisted with recovery.
For more information, please visit Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation