As we step into Spring, it’s time to share some recent highlights and also update you with program and staff news over the last few months. A lot has been going on!
Throughout the challenges of the year, we have focused on Celebrating all Seasons. The French have a saying from the 15’th Century: “Fleuris là où tu es plantée“, which means, “Bloom where you are planted”. As we step into Spring we want to say thank you to you our supporters for blooming where you are planted.
We have been touched at your ongoing generosity this last financial year. As a result of last year’s Pandemic Crisis, Christmas and EOFY Appeals we raised more funds than in any previous year. Your support ensured we stayed in the black during one of the toughest year’s the organisation has faced and illustrated how clearly your efforts make a difference to the young people and children we serve.
We all know disadvantaged and at-risk young people and children have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. So thank you. It REALLY meant a lot this last year. Your ongoing generosity ensured that we have been able to continue supporting disadvantaged and at-risk young people, online and offline, during such a critical time.
Despite the pandemic’s challenges and subsequent lockdowns, we continued to innovate so that we could support vulnerable young people and children wherever they were. Our CREWY (Creating Real Adventures With Youth) team played a crucial role in keeping young people in our Inside Out homes connected, organising fun activities and creative challenges to keep them engaged. These fun and hilarious rolling set of activities worked, and it’s a credit to the CREWY team, our volunteer live-in-mentors and the young people involved for making the effort to keep their spirits up during lockdowns.
In the last few months we’ve launched a campaign to recruit more live-in-mentors who play a crucial role in integrating young people in the Out-Of-Home-Care system into the community. If you know of anyone who is interested please send them our way! This can be an incredibly rewarding role for the right person who wants to make a difference in a young person’s life.
We are excited that we’ve recently employed four graduates from Hand Brake Turn on short-term placements as trainee mechanics in our fiXit social enterprise. There’s a fair bit going on in the background with fiXit and Hand Brake Turn and we are hoping to share more news about this area in the coming months.
Below you’ll find updates about some of the things we’ve been up to recently, and important opportunities to get involved and make a difference for young people.
I hope this short summary of the last few months encourages you to reflect on the wonderful outcomes we achieve in our work supporting young people together, despite the ongoing challenges of COVID in our communities. I feel positive and optimistic about the future for young people, and hope you can join with me in celebrating their wins and the joyful moments we’ve shared with them this year.
And lastly, just a reminder that fiXit social enterprise is continuing to run throughout lockdown in accordance with Victorian government regulations. Don’t forget you can donate a car or book your car in for a service at either our Braybrook or Dandenong workshops and provide work experience for young people as they develop their skills and get started on their career path. Contact Jonathan Sugumar at email@example.com to find out more.
As we welcome the spring sunshine, we are reminded that like tending a garden, our relationships and potential of young people need to be nurtured.
Hosea 6:3 reflects our motivation during these challenging times, and our prayer is that you will join us as we “… acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.”
Stay safe, stay positive, stay blessed.
Chief Executive Officer
Simple Tips to Learn about Budgeting
We are proud of our Financial Inclusion video series that aimed to educate young people about how to budget, manage their money and plan for the future.
We want to invest in the financial literacy of young people and promote conversations about money, particularly as young people look to enter the world of work.
In our campaign, we produced short clips, simplifying financial information so anyone can digest it and use it as reference.
Check out the last video in the series…….. We had fun making them too!
Our Team’s Updates
At the end of July, we said congratulations and farewell to Geoff Manton who will do brilliantly in his new role as CEO of Fusion Australia. Geoff has been an invaluable member of the Executive team and has been behind a number of key innovations and exciting developments in the Living, Learning & Earning area and beyond. We wish him all the best in his new venture.
We’ve been excited to welcome Richard Parker, our new General Manager of Living, Learning & Earning to the organisation, bringing to the role a comprehensive community services and management background that includes Chaplain to homelessness, youth work, residential care, and drug and alcohol services; Youth Work; Ministry Leader at The Salvation Army Mitcham; management of The Salvation Army’s work in the Northern Territory which included a focus on alcohol and other drugs rehabilitation, family violence and community work.
After 11 years of exceptional commitment and support as part of the Steps Outreach Service team, Grace Baulch finished up with Concern Australia in June this year. Grace leaves an incredible legacy and was such a warm and valued member of the Steps Outreach team. The positive impact she had on the lives of the young people and children she touched is a tribute to the hard work and commitment she gave to building relationships with vulnerable young people on Melbourne’s streets. We wish her the very best in her endeavours!
More farewells and heartfelt thanks are also extended to the remarkable people we recruited as part of our partnership with the Victorian State Government. Through time limited funding as a part of the Working for Victoria initiative Thanh, Meghna, Florent, Manmeet, Yohannes and Issam provided critical support in newly created roles and we are so grateful for their invaluable contribution over the past 6 months.
Creating Real Experiences With Youth (CREWY) and Inside Out
In a coordinated effort to improve the wellbeing of young people and Live-in-Mentors in our Inside Out homes the CREWY project team devised a series of creative challenges, fun excursions and a range of activities to keep them connected and engaged. Introducing CREWY activities this year lifted everyone’s spirits and played a critical role in helping our young people and live-in-mentors get through the lockdowns. The winners of this challenge received an uber eats meal and a voucher of their choice.
Child Protection Week
In 2021, Child Protection Week emphasizes the importance of a comprehensive approach to adequately care for vulnerable and at-risk young people in our care.
We deeply believe that every child, in every community, needs a fair go. However, not every family has the access to essential resources to bring up their children as resilient and healthy individuals. It is a time to call on the government to provide more support and financial resources to support every child, family, and community. This will make Victoria more equitable to everyone and see young people and children thrive!
During the Week, we raised the voices of our staff and volunteers to share impactful quotes that summed up their experience working with vulnerable young people. There were many resources to download from NAPCAN’s website, check out our article which will take you straight there.
This past few months we’ve been ramping up our efforts to recruit Live-in-Mentors. It’s off the back of a downward trend in volunteering in Australia and know if many in the community were simply made aware of the opportunity, they might just give it a go and see how rewarding it can be. We have created some brochures we’ll be sharing online and in college and TAFE sessions, and are hoping our efforts make a difference.
Could you be a good mentor? We think you might be or know someone who would be interested.
Volunteer Live-in-Mentors are the backbone of Inside Out, providing guidance and support to young people who have been part of the out-of-home-care system and have often had traumatic experiences in their lives. The live-in mentors help build a safe sense of home in which the young people in their care can learn to tackle life independently.
One of Concern Australia’s mentors shares, “The young people I’ve been around are incredible people. They inspire me with their maturity and their humour. They’re amazing people. I feel very lucky to be living with them.”
Run Melbourne to end youth homelessness
Run Melbourne continued to be Steps’ biggest annual fundraising event and the Steps for Youth Homelessness team raised an impressive $21,177, exceeding their target. We were incredibly grateful to former Steps youth worker, Grace Baulch, who raised more than $10,000! Every year Grace runs in the event and we have been so grateful she’s run her heart out for us every year to help support disadvantaged young people and children. What a legend.
Each year a small group of passionate people enter Run Melbourne to raise money to directly support young people who are doing it tough. It’s been a tough couple of years, but we look forward to next year’s event and hope you’ll join us too!
The Rotary Club of Keilor – Doing great things with HBT
We’re delighted to have our long-standing partnership with the Rotary Club of Keilor who have provided funding this year to build the capability of our Hand Brake Turn trainers working with at-risk young people.
The donation of $10,000 from the Rotary Club of Keilor has assisted us with professional development training for our HBT trainers. This funding will enable our trainers to drive greater success for participants who have particular challenges with reading, writing and numeracy.
Being part of a generous, caring and resilient Concern Australia community has been heart-warming this last year. Check out this graph to see just how much of an impact your giving has achieved in FY21, exceeding donations raised in any previous year! It’s remarkable and humbling,
Funding this year has enabled us to adapt, to innovate and continue supporting young people and children experiencing disadvantage. Thank you!
If you are a supporter of our work, please consider making a regular pledge to Concern Australia or one of our programs which you can do online. You can control where you’d like your donation to go to, so if you could, perhaps check out options available and consider making a difference in young person’s life today!
Join with us today and like us, focus on opportunities to ‘Bloom where you are planted’.