In­dige­nous youth pro­gram step­ping up

Comment News (Armadale) - - Comment -

THE con­tin­ued suc­cess of the lo­cal One Step Closer pro­gram shows there is grow­ing de­mand for youth-cen­tric safe spa­ces in Armadale, ac­cord­ing to not-for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion Save the Chil­dren.

In the space of just a few weeks, par­tic­i­pa­tion num­bers at One Step Closer have soared, from 30 in this year’s first ses­sion to al­most 80 just six weeks later.

The pro­gram runs ev­ery Fri­day night dur­ing the school term as a safe space for Abo­rig­i­nal youth aged eight to 15 to hang out, pro­vid­ing them trans­port to and from Bob Black­burn Re­serve, work­shops on lo­cal Abo­rig­i­nal cul­ture and de­vel­op­ing life skills, as well as of­fer­ing a chance to par­tic­i­pate in sport and en­joy a healthy meal.

Save the Chil­dren re­gional co-or­di­na­tor Heidi Hol­man said the rapid growth of One Step Closer in the last few weeks showed a need for more pro­grams like it in the area.

“The growth in par­tic­i­pants has shown that we are pro­vid­ing a pro­gram that is both en­joy­able and ac­ces­si­ble to young peo­ple and demon­strates the need for an in­crease on safe places in the Armadale area,” she said.

“The One Step Closer pro­gram has proven to be a suc­cess­ful youth en­gage­ment model that sup­ports young peo­ple’s pos­i­tive be­long­ing in their com­mu­nity and cul­ture, in­creases their life skills, and acts as an ef­fec­tive de­ter­rent to street pres­ence and crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity in the com­mu­nity.

“The ef­fec­tive­ness of the pro­gram does con­trib­ute to sup­port­ing a safer com­mu­nity by pro­vid­ing a safe place for young peo­ple to en­gage in mean­ing­ful pro­grams, but we can go a lot fur­ther as a com­mu­nity to sup­port our young peo­ple by pro­vid­ing a per­ma­nent youth hub for young peo­ple to re­ceive the ser­vices they need at the right time.”

Save the Chil­dren youth en­gage­ment team leader Sa­man­tha Dragon said de­mand could be seen in the con­nec­tions be­tween other lo­cal pro­grams.

“One Step Closer staff work across the two Armadale Save the Chil­dren youth en­gage­ment pro­grams – One Step Closer and Drug Aware Ig­nite Bas­ket­ball – and this has in­creased con­nec­tions and rap­port with young peo­ple in the com­mu­nity as many young peo­ple at­tend both pro­grams,” she said.

One Step Closer is at Bob Black­burn Re­serve, Armadale, 6-8.30pm ev­ery Fri­day night dur­ing school term.

One Step Closer par­tic­i­pants.

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