SWAN City Youth Centre has come a long way since its humble beginnings under the stairs of the Midland Town Hall 40 years ago.
The not-for-profit is using its 40th birthday to springboard an awareness campaign and raise vital funds to continue its mission supporting youth across the region.
“We’ve always had this tag, ‘best kept secret’, and I don’t want to be a secret anymore, I want people to know about us and the needs of young people so then we can get the funding up,” SCYC general manager Ray Tanielu said.
The youth program planted roots in the area in 1980 after local Molly Naser recognised a need for a specialist service for people aged between 12 and 25 years.
For the past 40 years, SCYC has helped more than 15,000 young people through its flagship free music program, TAFE education pathways, mental health support and drop-in service.
“We have kids coming from as far as Mandurah and Two Rocks for the music program,” Mr Tanielu said.
“The music studio is the carrot.
“Young people will come for the music program and not want to engage in the support offered but when it comes time to sing or rap it comes out in their music.
“That’s how those informal conversations start.
“Once that happens we can work on getting them food hampers and Centrelink support, it’s a snowball effect.”
With support of Midland TAFE, the youth service has also run a Certificate I and II in Education successfully for more than 15 years.
“School isn’t for everyone and what we we’re finding is a lot of the kids accessing the service were falling through the gaps,” Mr Tanielu said.
“They might have issues with focusing or behavioural issues, social anxiety or bullying.
“The support of the youth workers makes the biggest difference, we walk alongside them.”
The Padbury Terrace based centre is completely self-supported and reliant on independent financial support.
To get in touch, call 9274 3488.
By Claire Ottaviano