Safeguarding the Social Development of the Next Generation: Chain Reaction’s Youth Activity Program.
One of the first things that each child must learn on their pathway to adulthood is that we are not alone. We are connected, we are parts of a whole – not homogeneous and generic but unique, valuable pieces in a far larger social organism.
Understanding this is not always so simple. We cannot assume that young people will develop these social skills and comprehension of the importance of interactivity and connection as part of the normal course of their development. This is why a programme like Chain Reaction’s Youth Activity at Mt Druitt Learning Ground is so important.
The Youth Activity Program
Every Friday afternoon and evening, Learning Ground opens its doors to the young people of Mount Druitt and the surrounding area, providing a safe space for them to practice their social development and to engage and interact with one another.
On the one hand, this gives the direct and immediate benefit of enabling kids who perhaps do not have the opportunity – or who find it difficult – to make friends and to establish positive social circles to do so. On the other, it offers the much wider social advantage of assisting the next generation of citizens as they seek to build social cohesion, harmony and understanding within the community.
Positive Social Interaction
The cliché of teenagers and young adults ‘hanging around on street corners’ and getting into trouble is unfortunately still a valid one in Australia. Spaces like the one provided by our Youth Activity Program offer protection and safety at what is an incredibly impressionable age in the life of a youngster. The managed social environment which kids find here helps to promote interaction without the dangers often associated with it.
It also provides a haven from the risk of substance abuse. In 2013, it was revealed that 15% of Australians over the age of 14 have used drugs – including prescription drugs – in an illicit manner within the previous 12 months, an increase of 0.3% in only three years. The most common drugs used illicitly are cannabis and cocaine.
In Australians aged between 14 and 24, drug use continues to be an issue, although the age at which the average user tries their first illicit drug increased from 16 years to 16.3 years between 2010 and 2013.
Staying on Track for the Future
All of this highlights the need for programs like ours. It costs up $35,000 to run the Youth Activity Program for a year, during which time we can assist in ensuring positive interactions and developed social cohesion for the next generation and beyond.
This is why we need your assistance as we seek to continue this programme – and others like it – in 2017, and in each year after that, going forwards. We welcome any donations, as every little bit helps us get closer to our goal.
To find out more about Chain Reaction’s Youth Activity Program, and to discover how you can get involved and help the next generation of Mount Druitt residents, take a look at the Chain Reaction website and browse the information. Alternatively, please feel free to reach out to me directly.
Together, we can make a real difference for our precious younger generation.
Margaret Bell, AM - Founder and CEO of Chain Reaction Foundation.
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