Char­ity marks mile­stone

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News -

WA GOVER­NOR Kerry San­der­son took care of the cer­e­mo­ni­ous cake cut­ting at the Youth Fo­cus 21st birth­day at the Hy­att Re­gency last week.

Mrs San­der­son is the fifth gover­nor to be Pa­tron of the not-for­profit group that works with young peo­ple aged 12-25 to help them over­come is­sues as­so­ci­ated with de­pres­sion, anx­i­ety, self­harm and sui­ci­dal thoughts.

The jour­ney started when Ron­ald Woss and Peter Fitz­patrick com­bined to bring a NSW ini­tia­tive Youth In­search to Perth.

It hosted week­end camps for young peo­ple where they could feel safe and in­cluded.

Af­ter six years, the con­cept had gained so much mo­men­tum that in 1994 the duo forged their own path to co-es­tab­lish Youth Fo­cus that was in­de­pen­dent to WA.

Last Tues­day, Mr Woss shared his mo­ti­va­tion for ini­ti­at­ing the con­cept.

His daugh­ter Me­lanie com­mit­ted sui­cide in 1988.

Mr Woss said the loss of Me­lanie made him re­alise that sui­cide and de­pres­sion did not dis­crim­i­nate.

He said it did not mat­ter what sort of ed­u­ca­tion you had or how wealthy or not you were.

Mr Fitz­patrick was caught of­f­guard at the birth­day cel­e­bra­tions.

“I haven’t seen Brooke for 15 years,” he said, re­fer­ring to Brooke Chap­man, who at­tended Youth In­search camps and later Youth Fo­cus ac­tiv­i­ties as a teenager af­ter los­ing her dad and sur­viv­ing a brain tu­mour.

Ms Chap­man, who now works for Youth Fo­cus, spoke at the birth­day event.

The Bur­swood-based char­ity re­leased a book of 21 sto­ries from the past 21 years to com­mem­o­rate the mile­stone.

To do­nate, visit www.youth fo­

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