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Creating, investing in positive outcomes Stephen Taylor steve@mpnews.com.au THE man behind Mana Youth Project says it “seeks to build bridges over our past regrets and challenges, instead of building walls around us that prohibit personal growth in every aspect of our lives”. Rick Boland, of Rosebud, says his service focuses 12 to 25 year olds at risk of becoming disengaged with life and who see mostly negatives in their school and home environments. Through chat sessions, school and family involvement he aims to reinforce in disillusioned young people a positive approach to their lives and how they see themselves and others. The name Mana comes from the Polynesian worldview on personal power, strength and energy. It is a force that can be gained and lost through any and all of our day-to-day actions, he said. In essence, it stands for seeking positive change through our actions and accomplishments; creating a new reality for ourselves outside of the old beliefs that hold us back; living with a sense of purpose; acting with compassion and care for ourselves and others; being able to say: “This is me, and that’s okay”, and being ourselves – not an imitation of what we think we should be or have been told we should be. “We believe that by fostering positive community connections and learning to foster congruence – that is when our beliefs and values are in-tune with our words and actions –

Talk, connect: Rick Boland conducts a chat session at Rosebud. And, inset, helps a young client with photography. Pictures: Yanni (main) and supplied

we can create, nurture and circulate positive and long-lasting wellbeing in our communities,” he said. Mr Boland has been running the service for the past 16 months as a volunteer and says it is considered a not-for-profit enterprise. He speaks from experience in the field. “I dropped out of school in year

9 and plodded along for several years couch surfing and going on the dole,” he said. “I studied at different times and found my ground. I believe in the value of peer support, mentoring and lived experience.” Mr Boland approaches schools and families as a way of linking up with young people in need of his support.

‘Shire is points ahead on satisfaction’ - mayor MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire says survey results “show the community believes [the council’s] overall performance, customer service and waste management are all positive”. The annual community satisfaction survey, independently conducted by telephone across shire households in February and March for the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, measures community perception on the performance of Victorian councils across a range of measures. While a minimum of 400 interviews were conducted in 63 municipalities for the survey, the results for each

council have not been published for the public by DELWP. The mayor Cr David Gill said results for the peninsula show a threepoint increase in waste management and a one-point increase in overall performance – both higher than the state-wide average. “The results also show a four-point increase in satisfaction with the condition of sealed local roads,” Cr Gill said. “We always seek to ensure fundamental council services such as roads and waste management are of the highest quality and we’re pleased the community believes we are delivering

on that”. It was “pleasing that out of all the core measures, council’s best performing area was customer service”. “The survey results also indicate areas for improvement such as lobbying on behalf of the community; something council has put a strong emphasis on this year,” Cr Gill said. “Council is dedicated to working closely with the community and prides itself on being accessible to residents and ratepayers. In fact, 69 per cent of those surveyed had made contact with council over the previous 12 months compared to 61 per cent of residents surveyed across Victoria.”

He then develops affordable eightweek programs outside school hours where participants discuss issues affecting them while receiving positive and constructive responses and suggestions. “Many young people need help approaching life – it can be daunting,” he said. “I try and meet them at their

level and get across that someone out there is looking out for them.” A stable home life is of great value to troubled young people. “If that is all taken care of that’s one less thing they need to worry about; they know their home environment is positive and they can concentrate on what’s important to them,” Mr Boland said. “We have had great reception to our work, but we want to reach more families and schools who may not know about us yet. To do this, we are going to be holding a Q&A jam session at Rosebud in the next few weeks.” He said the information session would be an open forum for parents, carers, schools, teachers and members of other community organisations to “come along, chat, ask questions or voice concerns about this strange new youth service and mentor program”. “We totally understand that any new, fresh thing popping up in our community comes with its own very real worries and questions. “Through holding this space for everyone, answering these questions, while hopefully weaving in some personal stories of how our work came about, and hearing from young people we have mentored in the past, we hope you leave at least with the knowledge we exist.” Mr Boland said the information session would show “why mentoring for the youth in our community is a great initiative to support”. His major partners are St Vincent de Paul Society, Seawinds Community Hub and the Mornington Peninsula Foundation.

Twilight for sustainability fair BUSINESSES and the community will come together at this year’s Balnarring Sustainability Fair to present workshops, stalls and activities aimed at securing a more sustainable future. The 4-7pm, Saturday 12 October event will be headlined by Josie Jones, whose active commitment to protecting Port Phillip by reducing waste earned her this year’s Mornington Peninsula Shire Citizen of the Year award. Workshops will include the team from Talking Hens, Merricks, discussing the best ways of keeping backyard chickens, while bee enthusiast Nick Harrison will discuss making homemade beeswax candles. The Balnarring Primary School fundraiser will open with a welcome to country and smoking ceremony with Owen Thomas and Carissa Watts

providing live entertainment. Goods can be bought at the “preloved department store” and artwork going under the hammer at a silent art auction includes pieces by Karina Armstrong, Kate Butler de Castro, Warren Cooke, Marion Harper, Judith Van Heeren, Hannah Lewis, Jane Reiseger and Jacqi Russo. Proceeds will go to the school’s literacy program and the Balbirooroo Wetlands. Balnarring Environmental Action Team will conduct tours of the wetlands. Food and wine will be available and a team from Southern Peninsula For information, stall inquiries and sponsorship applications visit balnarringsusfair.com.au or call Balnarring Primary School on 5931 4444. Images of artwork being auctioned are at https://bit.ly/2kKsvWX

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Southern Peninsula News

9 October 2019

PAGE 13

Profile for Mornington Peninsula News Group

8 October 2019  

Southern Peninsula News 8 October 2019

8 October 2019  

Southern Peninsula News 8 October 2019

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