New youth project launched: It takes a village to raise a child
POLICE minister David Elliott came to town this week to launch a unique Aboriginal youth project – and he scored a new car for the police involved in Project Walwaay while he was here.
Aimed at mentoring Aboriginal kids, Project Walwaay is supported across the community by NSW Police Force, PCYC, Aboriginal Lands Council, Aboriginal Legal Service, Aboriginal Elders and community members, and other government and non-government agencies.
The car wasn’t funded by taxpayers by way of the state treasury, it was donated by Michael Adams, the owner of Golden West Automotive. Member for Dubbo Dugald Saunders says that shows the community believes in these proactive policing strategies.
“People are responding really well, we’ve just found out today that there’s a car being given by Golden West to help the team actually get out and around,” Mr Saunders said yesterday.
“They’re visiting schools regularly, they’re helping when things go wrong at school, a team member can be there to calm them down, take them home if they need to go home, rather than locking them up later on that night – pro-activity is a far better way to do it and this program is definitely doing that.”
Michael Adams said he’s a firm believer in supporting youth activities.
“We’ve had long-term sponsorship of junior sport and that’s all about giving youth opportunity, and I think this is a really good initiative because prevention’s better than cure. It’s better for the whole community if we can do something that helps children break the cycle of misbehaving and crimes,” Mr Adams said.
“If we can get them on the right path it’s a win-win for everybody, society wins because Dubbo will be a better place for everybody, and the child wins because they’ll have a more meaningful and happy existence.”
Police minister David Elliott couldn’t agree more.
“We need programs which will see police and other community leaders walk alongside our youth, not necessarily in front of them, and I think that’s been very, very important,” Mr Elliott told yesterday’s media conference. “I’m delighted to see the success of the program here so far and I’m here to learn more about.
“I’m a great believer in the proverb that it takes a village to raise a child and what we’re seeing out of this particular program is exactly that,” Mr Elliott said.
Acting assistant commissioner Peter Mckenna said it’s not only important because it’s actually something for crime reduction, but morally it’s the right thing to do.
“These kids don’t always have the same opportunity as other kids, for various reasons, but it doesn’t get more important than the most vulnerable in our community, and as police we have to be something different,” Mr Mckenna said.
“It’s no longer acceptable to just have a revolving door and forget about these kids, we’ve got dedicated Aboriginal police officers here, Aboriginal Community Liaison Officers and the rest of the police here are behind this because we care about our community and we care about the youth in our community.
“So that’s why we’ve launched Project Walwaay, to really make a difference – and it’s working.”
NSW Police Minister David Elliott speaking at yesterday’s launch of Project Walwaay. PHOTO: DUBBO PHOTO NEWS