Each year we help many young people in Sydney's North get their lives back on track.
While each individual has a story that is unique, they all share a background of great personal suffering and countless challenges. They also share the experience and pride of driving their own personal turn-arounds.
Listen to and read their personal stories as they are invariably the best people to explain how StreetWork helps teens in their journey to turning their lives around.
Amir's StreetWork Story
As a 17 year old, Amir* got in to trouble with the police and was charged with possession of drugs. He was referred to StreetWorks by the police. As part of Kickstart, Amir had weekly mentoring sessions with one of our youth workers. He was keen to pay off his fine and to stay out of trouble. He also wanted to stay at school and get good marks for the HSC. With the support of his youth worker, Amir was able to complete his HSC and gain a place at university. He now has a more positive outlook on life.
*Not his real name
Jon's StreetWork Story
Jon* has had a troubled childhood witnessing both domestic violence and abuse on an ongoing basis within the family. Having moved out of home he was referred to StreetWork by a government organisation. His goals were to learn to be independent and to find a part time job, something he could do when he wasn't at school. After continued persistence, Jon was offered two jobs and to celebrate and help prepare himself for his first day at work, Jon is treated to a professional haircut and shave at the Flying Tiger barbershop. Jon was almost unrecognisable after his haircut and shave.
* Not his real name
Sarah's StreetWork Story
At 17, Sarah* was not happy with the direction her life was going in. After listening to a StreetWork talk at her school, Sarah contacted us and asked for some assistance to turn her life around. Sarah had been in trouble with the police and was also struggling with alcohol and controlling her anger. With support from KickStart, Sarah fulfilled all of her obligations with the juvenile justice court and she learnt many useful anger management techniques and is using them to good effect. Sarah has got herself a job and is gaining confidence in her ability to make good decisions and build on her strengths.
* Not her real name
Matt's StreetWork Story
At 14, Matt was having problems with school and getting lots of detentions because of his behaviour. He was also struggling without a male role model in his life and he was referred to StreetWork by Headspace. Through the KickStart Program, Matt has been meeting regularly with a youth worker to discuss challenges and keep on track with the goals he as set. Matt has really improved his performance at school and continues to progress. He is passionate about skateboarding and learning new tricks. To celebrate his progress Matt and his youth worker recently visited the Monster Skate Park in Homebush.
* Not his real name
Ben’s StreetWork Story
Ben aged 14 was referred to StreetWork by his parents. He was struggling at school and failing to fulfil his study commitments. Ben was also becoming more aggressive and verbally abusive at home towards his other siblings. Working with a youth worker on the KickStart Program, Ben has been working on anger management techniques. He has also been working hard at school and has been handing all his homework in on time.
* Not his real name
GRADUATION REWARD FOR 2 YOUNG PEOPLE
As a graduation reward for two young people (YP) on the KickStart Mentoring Program, the Manly - Youth Services Manager took them to the Blacktown drive-in for the premier of the All Eyez On Me - 2Pac movie, as both were very keen hip-hop fans.
One of the YP had been referred to StreetWork at 17 by Juvenile Justice as he had a number of assault charges against him. He and his mentor would travel to court in Bidura Children's court for hearings around the charges and the mentor would assist the YP with the Youth Justice Conference outcomes which included the delivering of an apology letter to the victims of the assaults. The YP also needed to continue anger management classes with his psychologist and pay back money towards the medical expenses of his victims. The YP delivered on each of these requirements and concluded his court hearings. His good behaviour period has now ceased meaning he was no longer requires direct support and has now progress to the StreetWork Aftercare program.
The second YP was referred to StreetWork by his school due to extreme issues of anxiety. The YP's primary goal was to finish Year 12 and achieve his HSC. During the course of his two year engagement with StreetWork , the YP he had many ups and downs and relapses in his truancy and he attended four different schools before settling at the Beach School. Last year he concluded his goal and is now using his Aftercare meetings to review opportunities to study at Macquarie University.
At the film premier there was live music by Grammy Award winnings Hip-Hop artists, fancy cars (that bounce like the music videos) food and the movie's sound delivered through the StreetWork Tarago stereo. The young people remarked on having an incredible night like which they've never experienced and their mentor remarked on how far they'd both come - to be challenged by anger management problems and anxiety to being so comfortable and focused at a big social gathering.
Joel's streetWork Story
Randle's StreetWork Story
Mandy's StreetWork Story
Alex's StreetWork Story
An early school leaver at 16, Alex found herself hanging around Chatswood with a bad crowd and no job prospects. She came to StreetWork's attention through our Outreach Program.
We quickly determined that Alex was at considerable risk due to difficult parental relationships and risk-taking behaviour.
Through KickStart Mentoring, we provided Alex with regular care, support and encouragement.
Five years later, Alex has turned her life around.
Today Alex has multiple qualifications in business, including managerial and administration certifications.
Alex is now happily married and works as an Executive Assistant for an accountancy firm.
Ara's StreetWork Story
Ara was 8 when his mother was sentenced to 50 years in prison after attempting to smuggle heroin out of Asia.
Ara and his brother were left in the care of their father, a tough Armenian who had escaped the Middle East and fled to Australia.
His unsettled home life and a difficult relationship with his Dad caused him to struggle and eventually be expelled from school. Soon after, his father took out an AVO against Ara, leaving him homeless.
Ara met StreetWork and we helped him find a place to live and to navigate the police and legal systems.
While on the KickStart program, Ara attended a course to break the cycle of destructive and aggressive behaviour and take control of his life.
Ara gradated from KickStart and went on to complete a TAFE certificate and now enjoys a career in plumbing.
“When you’re on the street, kids just 12 or 13 are using drugs. You’re surrounded by the same kind of people. StreetWork helped me to make goals and to achieve them, and make real changes in my life.”