Community stories: 22 December 2020
When faced with the heartbreaking reality of rising deaths among young people, the team at Byron Youth Service (BYS) stepped in to remind their community that young lives matter, and that everyone deserves to feel happy, safe and valued.
Since 1987, BYS has been advocating for young people between the ages of 12 to 24 years old, by creating, supporting and leading community action. Made up of a team of eight staff and ten volunteers, BYS has been the primary provider of youth services in Byron Bay and the surrounding area since their inception.
Sadly, for many disadvantaged and at-risk students in the area, there is no access to computers or the internet at home. Having access to the right information and support can help these students overcome issues such as mental health, substance misuse, self-harm, sexual assaults and eating disorders.
Among one of their many projects, the team at BYS runs Mullumbimby Cottage, where up to 40 disadvantaged students access outreach programs using modern technology, that are designed to build resilience and create a sense of place. The programs on offer at the Cottage provide skills training and facilities that help support and empower young people to overcome the challenges they may face.
Being able to discuss the issues they’re facing without fear of shame, fear or embarrassment is key in building resilience – and BYS has found that delivering programs using technology can support better outcomes than traditional methods might.
The laptops at Mullumbimby Cottage allow BYS to run information sessions, show videos, and educate participants on safe social media privacy settings. In both individual and group settings, laptops allow youth workers to provide the support needed to disclose any issues or concerns young people have, in a safe and trusting environment.
And, after using the same computers to access these programs for over a decade, Mullumbimby Cottage needed a major technology upgrade. Through FRRR’s ANZ Seeds of Renewal program, BYS received a grant for $6,895, which allowed them to purchase five new Apple MacBooks. In addition to having access to the programs BYS run, the new laptops are also available for writing resumes, searching for jobs, researching courses and completing homework.
The contribution Byron Youth Services has made to their local community is incredibly important, and FRRR is proud to support Mullumbimby Cottage on their mission to help every young person reach their full potential.