None of it is their fault, and at-risk young people have no control over the homes in which they are raised. But it has a profound effect on the way their brain functions in relation to how they make decisions. These young people may turn to risk-taking behaviours themselves — to drugs and alcohol or crime — as a way of coping. At-risk youth need help to get back on track. They need someone to believe in them, to invest in them. They need Whitelion.
Whitelion is a charity that supports at-risk youth with a belief these young people possess incredible strength. It believes they have the courage, determination and resilience to turn their lives around and overcome their past. Whitelion invests in at-risk youth to help them move forward and be the best person they can be, to create a future for themselves on their own terms.
When you give to Whitelion it’s so much more than a one-off donation to a charity. It’s an investment in a young person’s future.
Invest in me
Whitelion’s Invest in Me program aims to give at-risk young people opportunities they wouldn’t get otherwise, through mentoring, education and workplace training. Just one of its programs is the “If it wasn’t for this coffee” café that has been operating for the past two years in western Sydney’s Mount Druitt community hub, part of the local library. Its solutions-based approach means a focus on investing in the training and employment of young people leads to them building positive connections to the local community and finding employment.
The café is a local hot-spot and also now has its own coffee brand. In 2018 the cafe graduated 40 young people with a Certificate III in Hospitality and met its annual KPI of creating 12 paid jobs for local unemployed youth.
Whitelion invested in Darren
Whitelion first met Darren* three years ago at its alternative learning centre in Sydney – which marked the start of his journey from a troubled teen to an enthusiastic trainee mechanic with a bright future.
Back then, Darren was doing it tough. He had difficulty controlling his temper, his friendship group was frequently in trouble with the law, and he did not experience the easiest time growing up. Whitelion team leader Anh had helped young people in similar situations before and knew how to persevere.
He helped Darren get a second chance to re-enrol at Whitelion’s alternative learning centre on the condition that he agreed to respect the staff and commit to complete a certificate course. Despite initially committing to the Skills for Work and Training course, not much changed at first. Darren was continually reluctant to work and was unmotivated. As Darren resisted, Anh persisted.
Anh’s next step was to liaise with key people in Darren’s life; his juvenile justice officer, to develop a strategy in supporting Darren with his court matters; and his mother, giving her strategies to manage his difficult behaviour at home. Anh also built a sense of trust and rapport with Darren and became a positive role model for him, supporting him in managing his friends and their risk-taking behaviour.
Anh helped Darren realise he had a new network of people who cared for him, people outside of his friendship group and, provided with positive support, he began to choose a better future. The first sign was that his attitude toward his mother changed. He then began focusing more on his study instead of staying out late. Within six months, not only had Darren completed two certificate courses, he had also won a $1000 scholarship.
As a direct result of his positive changes, Darren was granted a good behaviour bond. The bond is conditional that he regularly attends the learning centre and maintains his commitments. With the right support and encouragement from Whitelion, Darren has now been able to secure himself a traineeship with a local mechanic. He is enthusiastic and his future is bright.
Darren is one of thousands of young people Whitelion has helped, collaborating for 20 years with local communities, services, businesses and governments to find solutions to the issues facing at-risk youth.
More than 300 individuals are trained each year by Whitelion to be mentors or support mobile outreach services to do important work in the community, including:
- Providing mobile outreach services for homeless and disengaged youth
- Helping homeless young people find stable housing
- One-to-one case management and mentor programs to connect young people to their community and opportunities
- Connecting young people to education, training and employment to increase their access to work
Your much-needed support of Whitelion Australia is an investment in the future of young people who deserve an opportunity to rebuild their lives for a better future. Find out how you can support Whitelion here or visit its social channels.
#InvestInMe | @whitelionau
#InvestInMe | @WhitelionAustralia
#InvestInMe | @WhitelionAus
*Names have been changed.