Tell us a little about yourself and what you do in the community and youth sector?
Have you ever had a moment in your life where you knew in your gut it was your duty and responsibility to do more than just talk about how bad an issue is or what should be done by others to fix it. You know you should roll up your own sleeves and have a crack yourself. This is how it all began for me and the creation of Down The Track.
I am the founder and CEO of Down The Track Youth Enterprises Limited based in the remote community of Lake Cargelligo, Central West NSW. Currently the DTT team mentor and support 40 young people aged 10 – 20 years old with 95% of the young people being indigenous. These are the kids that don’t fit into a regular classroom environment, have had contact with the juvenile justice system or are just having a tough time. These kids are our passion. We support our young people to re-engage in a positive way with the community, gain employment, enrol in the education of their choice. DTT works with young people to build a toolkit to take control of their futures.
By doing this, our community is more connected, youth crime and incarceration rates are significantly down and youth employment and engagement are up.
What is an example of an innovative program or initiative that you have implemented in the last year that you consider impactful?
This would definitely be our social enterprise Trackin’ Good which is a food and coffee van which we use daily to cater for events, private functions and as a pop up café. Trackin’ Good has had over 45 young people complete work experience, training and upskilling and has recently employed one of our young people to work full time in the food van with plans to employ more young people over the next 12 months.
What help or support do young people need to really thrive in this new COVID world?
Options! It’s been tough to thrive when our world’s have been turned upside down. From full time schooling to homeschooling to online learning young people have been put through the ringer! After being exposed to all these options lets give our young people the opportunity to choose what works for them best.
Anything else you'd like to share from your experience to help our readers and the youth community?
Working with youth, particularly disengaged youth can be extremely challenging but you must continue to show up, be consistent and always look for the gold in every situation. There will be hard times, sometimes even sad times but I guarantee the great times will far outweigh the rest!