Youth centre could close

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Youth centre could close

Helping out: youth worker Tanya Doig outside the grainstore in Mirboo North.

By Chris Brown

MIRBOO North’s youth centre may be forced to close by the end of term.
Money is needed to keep paying for a youth worker to run it on Friday afternoons.
Each week between 10 and 25 young people, mostly aged 14 or 15, come to the grainstore for an activity such as cooking or table tennis.
Youth worker Tanya Doig fears that if the centre closed young people would be getting up to no good on Friday afternoons.
“My job isn’t only to run activities. If a young person presents with an issue I refer them to the appropriate service,” she said.
In the last month Tanya has referred three people to different services.
She also liaises with local schools and police every week.
The grainstore committee of management originally employed Tanya in mid-2007.
“They saw a need for a youth worker in Mirboo North as there’s not much for young people to do,” she said.
“I suppose it’s like any small town in the fact young people feel isolated and there are transport issues.”
The centre has been running with the help of the community, committee, local government, businesses and grants.
Fundraising by the young people at market days in Mirboo North has also helped pay the bills.
“I personally feel we’ve probably helped young people from slipping through the school system,” Tanya said.
“We have developed subcommittees for funding, so I have young people who never ever would have gotten up and done public speaking standing up in front of 100 people.”
While there had been plenty of money available to run youth activities, sourcing funds to pay for a youth worker’s wages is more difficult.
But even the money for activities has dried up, with the centre unsuccessful in obtaining grants.
Tanya has been working with young people for 10 years in organisations like Berry Street, Latrobe City and Department of Human Services.
“You get to know the young people that come each week to the youth centre and you feel like you’re helping,” she said.
“I have had young people that aren’t engaged in school or work pop their heads in the door and ask for a game of pool.
“I can then ask if there is a reason, or they might just need help in finding TAFE, or what they can do instead of hanging out on the street.”
On a recent Friday afternoon at the only youth centre in the South Gippsland Shire, the girls were doing foot spas and hand massages while the boys played pool or table tennis.
This was followed by dipping fruit into the chocolate of a fondue.
The week before a small group went ten bin bowling in Morwell.
Connecting youth to the community has been another aspect of the youth centre’s work.
They’ve helped with the Lions barbecue on market days, been part of the skate park painting and attended youth council meetings.
Anyone interested in helping fund the youth centre can contact Tanya on 0427 852 947.
Tanya would also like to hear from people who could donate programs that could be used for homework purposes for computers at the grainstore.

Short URL: http://www.thestar.com.au/?p=59

Posted by SiteAdmin on Aug 19 2009. Filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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