Concern Australia acknowledges the support of the Victorian Government.
Concern Australia provides a Chaplain, Andrew Blankley, to Youth Justice at Malmsbury YJC. The Chaplain works in conjunction with their Programs department. This facilitates the ease of administration of duties that often involve other departments at Malmsbury. Malmsbury Youth Justice Center (YJC) is a custodial facility run by the Department of Human Services (DHS) for young males aged 17 to 21 years who are deemed to have reasonable prospects for rehabilitation, or are particularly impressionable, immature or at risk of undesirable influences in adult prison.
Andrew spends Fridays at Malmsbury YJC, and conducts three church services on Sunday afternoons. Although each service has to be quite short because of YJC restrictions, Andrew still has approximately 20 clients who regularly attend church. Andrew links Bible lessons with modern stories of how people and groups use the Gospel to achieve great things – often from very challenging or humble circumstances. He says, “Using these stories encourages them to know that it doesn’t matter where they come from or what’s behind them, but rather what is in them and what they can achieve with that. Stories like that let them know they are not alone.”
Christmas and Easter are also occasions where different programs work together to make sure that they are enjoyable days for the clients, with Andrew often donning the Bunny or Santa costume as well as conducting the traditional church services. He often organises events and arranges for guest speakers to come in to train, shape and entertain the young people. The main events are the annual Bike Show, Christmas, Easter and ANZAC Day. Andrew also works with the young men on their projects, for example assisting them with leatherwork and didgeridoo making, which provides a great opportunity to interact and build relationship with clients, staff and external trainers.
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