caring for youth
FATHER CHRIS RILEY
DID YOU KNOW HOMELESSNESS IS A MAJOR ISSUE FOR TOWNSVILLE YOUTH? THANKFULLY ORGANISATIONS LIKE QUEENSLAND YOUTH SERVICES INC ARE WORKING HARD TO TURN THE STATISTICS AROUND. WORDS KYLIE DAVIS
SINCE 1978, Queensland Youth Services Inc (QYS) has been providing a vital range of services to people aged 12-25 years in the Townsville region. Key among these is The Youth Housing and Reintegration Service (YHARS). You may be surprised to learn that YHARS receive more than 40 phone calls a month to assist with accommodation – that’s on top of their current case load of 68. Melissa Previtera, who has been with QYS since 2005, remembers one father and son who were homeless and sleeping in their car with their dog. “Real estate agents would not rent any properties to them and Youth Justice and Child Safety were struggling to support the pair,” Melissa says. “Even though their location was out of the catchment area for YHARS, our service found a way to assist in securing long-term, affordable accommodation. “The boy is now regularly engaged with a Job Network service and Instep to help transition to employment and the father rang the service to say how appreciative he and his son are – and the dog is very happy too.” Melissa says she has stayed with QYS for so long because of the organisation’s ‘whatever it takes’ approach and dedicated staff who give 110 per cent to help assist local youth in our region. “I love my job,” she says. “What can be more rewarding than finishing work and going home knowing you have made a difference in someone’s life?” “In Townsville we have many individuals who just need someone to believe in them no matter their life circumstances.”
34 DUO MAGAZINE JUNE 2013 duomagazine.com.au
A not-for-profit organisation, QYS also delivers programs for youth at risk of disengaging from school, young parents, and youth who require intervention due to a breakdown in family relationships. Don’t miss QYS’s June 26 forum with keynote speakers Father Chris Riley, CEO of Youth of the Streets, and Tania Major – a former Young Australian of the Year. This forum will be a major fundraising event so QYS can continue to help youth in need.
LIVE AND LEARN Moved by Father Chris Riley’s work as CEO of Youth of the Streets, QYS’s Melissa Previtera has organised for him to be a guest speaker at the Live and Learn forum at Townsville Riverway Arts Centre on June 26. The master class in dealing with youth issues will also be addressed by Young Australian of the Year 2007 Tania Major. “Our keynote speakers will share their experiences with youth homelessness, juvenile crime and retention in education and training,” Melissa says. “We are also delighted to present Randal Ross, co-founder of Red Dust Healing, and Max Lenoy from James Cook University, who will be sitting on the forum expert panel to answer presubmitted questions about youth issues.” A forum like this provides an opportunity to bring key players together and encourage innovative and collaborative service delivery. Tickets for the forum are available now from TicketShop on 4727 9797. For more information, visit www.qys.org.au.
“IN TOWNSVILLE WE HAVE MANY INDIVIDUALS WHO JUST NEED SOMEONE TO BELIEVE IN THEM NO MATTER THEIR LIFE CIRCUMSTANCES.” MELISSA PREVITERA, QYS
Published on May 31, 2013
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