By ERWIN CHLANDA
The promoters of a 24/7 youth centre say that following last Thursday’s public meeting about 20 people have already offered their assistance with the project in writing, and a further number have indicated their support in conversation.
Steve and Janet Brown and Wayne Thompson say in a media release the meeting had given them insights into existing services and activities in the youth sector, as well as into government funding and their forward planning.
They say immediate tasks are:–
Spread the word about the centre under the banner “This Way”.
Continue the dialogue with other groups that started at the meeting.
Add to the knowledge already gained about reports on youth: “One report from Tangentyere from 2006 was tabled at the meeting. These reports remove all doubt that a 24/7 youth centre is a necessity if we are to make any headway in dealing with our trouble youth,” says the media release.
It deplores that “governments of all persuasions have sat on reports and not acted”: People who were 16 when the report was made are now 28 and possibly have themselves turned into parents “at whose feet the blame for our youth issues is usually laid. What chance did they ever have of learning how to be good parents, we must ask”.
The initiative must be community led, outside of and away from government.
It needs to counter-act petty jealousies from within part of the sector, more interested in protecting their own turf than finding solutions, a likely cause for the lack of progress.
“We will require both a professional staff and a volunteer and sponsorship base,” says the release.
“This Way will be set up and operate as an non profit NGO, headed by a board.
This Way will have two arms, one side being headed – as soon as possible – by a CEO and professional staff, the other by a committee and community volunteers.”
When the formalities are in place the group will move into fund raising mode, seeking sponsorship and donations from businesses and individuals.
“We will look for premises, being aware that we may need to begin in less than ideal facilities and move on to bigger and better as we grow,” says the release.
Next meeting dates will be advertised soon.
By ERWIN CHLANDA