Project: Beach Day
Breakaway Youth founder Merv Landy worked as a prison officer for 7 years and during this time he had many conversations with inmates, asking them about what might have stopped them from ending up in prison. The most common answers he received were: “had someone really loved me,” and, “had someone taken me out of the environment I was in, like going camping.”
Merv then spent another 7 years working for Teen Challenge, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program. It was here he realized, in his own words, “I was still working at the wrong end of the stick.” At this point Merv was convinced that prevention and early intervention was the key; in 1990 Breakaway Youth was born.
Breakaway is an early intervention programme for disadvantaged and “at risk” young people primarily 11-16 year old, from the Darebin, Banyule and Whittlesea areas in Melbourne who are referred by agencies and schools.
The three cornerstones of Breakaway are small groups, regular monthly support and long term support.
Care and guidance need to come from a foundation of relationship and this is built through connecting regularly. Each young person is invited to attend a weekend camp or activity day every month.
UCF received an application to support an end of the year Beach Day celebration with the young people in the Breakaway programme, planned for December. This would involve inviting all the youth along to a day trip to Torquay Foreshore for a day of swimming, sport, games and food.
It would also mean the monthly contact activity for December would be a day of getting away from Melbourne to a beach, which is not something the youth normally have an opportunity to do.
One staff member and 6-8 volunteers will provide up to 26 “at risk” young people from the Darebin and Banyule areas, who are part of the Breakaway programme, with the opportunity to touch base, as well as conclude the 2017 year in a fun, meaningful and memorable way.
The UCF Board were pleased to award a grant of $1,270 to fund a special day for this group of young people and hope they thoroughly enjoy themselves!
** Update May 2019 **
Every grant awarded by UCF requires a Grant Acquittal to review the expenditure and whether there were any lessons to be learned from it.
The funds enabled 22 disadvantaged young people to enjoy an end of year beach trip to Geelong Waterfront Beach for a day of swimming, beach games, cooking dinner together on a barbeque, and saying goodbye to each other for the year.
The day provided an opportunity for these disadvantaged youth to participate in a healthy leisure alternative. The day was a great opportunity for the kids to work further on their swimming skills in a safe and monitored environment. For most of these kids, Breakaway activities are the only time they have an opportunity to swim and work on swimming skills.
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