Bike program puts youth on right track
In an effort to divert youth from crime and reconnect them with education and the community, Dismantle Inc. has been operating a pilot bike restoration program in Rockingham.
Dismantle youth worker Lou Carey said the program was successful, with all of the participants — mostly boys aged 14 or 15 — committing to the mandatory six workshop sessions and returning voluntarily to finish the program.
“As a result, one child who had moved out of the family home was able to reconnect with their mum, move back home and is now going back to school,” she said.
“The results will be whether the participants come into contact with the juvenile justice system in the next three, six or 12 months.”
She said the workshop was burgled and new tools stolen early on in the pilot program, reinforcing to management the need for the diversion program in Rockingham.
Ms Carey said the program involved stripping down old bikes to restore and repair the parts before building one for charity and, if participants wanted to continue, one for themselves.
By operating outside the typical youth work environment, Ms Carey said participants were more inclined to open up about their home lives.
“It’s designed to empower them to recognise what is going on in their life and how they got involved in the juvenile justice system,” she said.
“Social media has made today’s youth more highly disconnected than the previous generation and Dismantle operates as the conduit to get them back on track. It’s predominantly about seeing them as a whole person, assessing their life — not just the criminal side — and providing them with positive role models and mentors.”
She said the not-for-profit organisation was connected with support agencies in the region.
Dismantle has had a stellar second half to the year, employing more staff to expand its services, and has been nominated with Save the Children and Anglicare for the this year’s WA Youth Awards on November 27.
Dismantle youth worker Lou Carey says the group’s bike shed program has helped to divert at-risk youth away from crime and reconnect them with family and education.