At the Y, our dedicated staff are the backbone to our organisation. And with 45% of our employees under 25 and National Youth Week upon us, we are celebrating our young people and the contributions they make.
Our young people are an invaluable asset to the Y. They empower our members, bring creative and innovative ideas to everything they approach, and make a positive impact in our communities.
Because of this, the Y believes strongly in investing in the personal and career development of our young people.
One young YMCA staff member who has had an inspiring and successful journey at the Y is Ben Miller. The Centre Coordinator at RecWest Braybrook, he is a prime example of how investing in opportunities to empower young people can deliver incredible results.
Passionate about helping young people, Ben recognised a need in his area for a program that provided a space for school students to work on their homework as well as be physically active.
“We started to notice late at night kids on the street hanging out and potentially not having the opportunity to be part of community-based after school programs due to financial issues,” Ben says.
It was from this observation that F.E.F.A (Fun, Educational, Fun, Activities) at RecWest Braybrook was born.
F.E.F.A initially ran for a six week period in Term 4 of 2016, and attracted 20 students aged 10-12 years old, all with the aim of gearing kids up for high school while establishing strong peer mentorships and connections.
Now in its second term, the program - popular with students and parents alike - looks like it is set to stay.
The running of F.E.F.A is made possible by community volunteers and university students studying youth work; keen to gain industry experience as well as make an impact. The Braybrook community are also fully embracing this program, to the extent that some passionate locals even pick the kids up after school to take them to F.E.F.A!
Parents of the students involved have already seen the benefits of the program, stating that they have seen a difference in their child’s behaviour, school grades and that they’ve made new friends.
This program is not only in place to help the students but to give them agency in its operations too. Completely aligning with the Y’s Empowering Young People philosophy to consult, respect, and give young people the choice on how a program is developed and run, the students are currently designing the logo for F.E.F.A.
If you are keen to be involved, Ben is on the hunt for passionate volunteers, if interested contact Ben at Ben.Miller@ymca.org.au.