Article by Rosalie Bryant, Youth Programs Coordinator
Byron Youth Service (BYS) has been the primary provider of youth services in the Byron Shire since 1987. Not surprisingly, BYS has a wonderful shared history of delivering community youth projects funded by NRCF. In fact, NRCF have granted BYS almost $55,000 since 2006!
At the end of 2018, NRCF gifted BYS a community grant to launch Tunnel Vision, a pilot, Young Men’s First-Offenders Program targeting teen anti-social behaviour in Byron Shire’s north. BYS partnered with Byron Shire Police and the High Schools to deliver the program, reaching out to young men to reverse youth crime through individual mentoring & ongoing early intervention.
The objective of the Tunnel Vision program has been to give young men an opportunity to change. Experienced male youth workers have mentored the boys, and helped them explore ways to stay out of trouble. These youth workers have also consulted with young men to find out what activities would attract disengaged youth.
Twenty-three boys were referred to the program and fifteen of those young men are engaged in ongoing support. Five boys who were at risk of expulsion from school were re-engaged in education through intensive case management. Ten other boys who had been involved in anti-social behaviour participated in a really effective 12 week in-school boys group, offering breakfast, fitness coaching, health and nutrition advice and ‘circle work’ where boys were guided by youth workers to check in on a range of topics impacting adolescent life. The program supported young men in having real conversations about school, life and where they see themselves in the future.
Some feedback from the group was:
- A great way to start the week
- Great to have a good breakfast
- The group gets you up and going in the morning
- It splits up the day and makes school more manageable
- The group is settling and calms you down, and makes the week go better
- It’s fun and I get to be competitive