What’s your connection to Brimbank?
I’m the general manager of The Youth Junction Inc, which was established in 2006 for young people aged between 12-25 years who are facing a range of disadvantages. We are the largest not-for-profit, fully independent co-located youth centre in Melbourne and respond to approximately 20,000 young people per year.
What do you like best about the area?
There is a high number of diverse not-for-profit organisations that young people are able to access if they require them – and many young people do.
What do you think could be improved?
I would like to see a Brimbank that is genuinely inclusive of all cohorts of young people and is able to cater for and address their needs, whilst celebrating their diversity.
Tell us about your involvement with the Youth Junction inc?
I am very proud to be associated with an organisation like The Youth Junction Inc.
which has taken a lead in creating an environment for other not-for-profits to collaborate, work together, and access
spaces to the benefit of young people. Collaboration is much more than having meetings, it is about sharing, helping each other out, co-operating and all in the best interests of the young people.
Tell us about some programs you’ve helped organise?
We’ve delivered a large number of youth programs over the years, including recreation programs such as our Friday night football, music production on a Saturday, barista training on a Friday and our new barbering program on a Tuesday. Alongside this we have a range of crime prevention programs for young people, which includes the youth community and law program and the crime choices and consequences program which all reduce anti-social and criminal activity.
You deal with Brimbank’s disadvantaged every day. Is there anything you think the reader would be surprised to know?
The changing face of Brimbank’s infrastructure improvements is not necessarily keeping pace with its need to make improvements in affordable housing, access to recreation centres for young people and the need for greater investment in young people for their futures.
What part of your work brings you the greatest sense of pride?
The greatest sense of pride in my work comes from young people being able to access a centre like the Visy Cares Hub where there is a range of organisations who are able to address complex and multiple needs. Watching young people who have moved on from needing our help and returning a few years later with stable housing, a job, a partner and children of their own is validation that our contribution has been important in their lives.
What’s your biggest source of frustration?
Lack of funding, which is a perennial challenge, but also a lack of understanding and compassion from the community who may be misinformed about why young people behave or react to the world in certain ways.