It seems too soon to be writing to you in our last newsletter of the year – 2020, with all its challenges and opportunities, has certainly flown by.
I hope that you and your loved ones have been keeping well over this time and, on behalf of all of us at Youth Opportunities, I want to thank you for your continued support. It makes what we do possible.
In our last newsletter I spoke about the impacts of COVID-19 restrictions on our organisation, and how we quickly adapted the delivery of our face to face Personal Leadership Program in term 2 to support young people who were learning at home. I’m excited to say our results were astounding! We recently published our term two impact report, detailing how we delivered our programs using a blended model of our online program, Thrive Online, with coaching and peer mentoring over Zoom and collaboration using various cloud-based programs such as Mural and GoogleDocs. You can read through our incredible results here.
Almost daily we are seeing new reports and statistics of how the effects of the pandemic are increasing the challenges for young people already experiencing disadvantage and adversity. Our programs and services are powerful preventative and early intervention measures that reduce the determinants that lead to negative social and economic consequences for both these young people, their families and their communities. For example, graduates of our programs report a significant reduction in their risk of developing a mental health disorder. September was National Suicide Prevention Month and we asked Youth Opportunities Lead Trainer and Mental Health First Aider, Hannah Russell, to share some insights on what we can do as a society to combat rising mental health concerns.
If you’ve been receiving our newsletter all of this year you’ll know that we’ve been focusing on one of our ‘Four Big Decisions’ in each edition, and sharing with you some of the tools we give young people to help them become personal leaders. We often hear from parents, educators and our corporate partners that this simple yet sophisticated framework is as valuable to them as it is to our young people. If you’re new to our newsletters and would like to see the previous editions, you can view older articles on our website.
Our focus for this newsletter is ‘Decide to Grow’, which is all about stepping out of your comfort zone, being open to new things and overcoming fear and avoidance. Here at Youth Opportunities, we sure have chosen growth this year – COVID-19 restrictions shook up the way we run fundraising events, graduation ceremonies, programs and more!
Navigating the event planning world and staying on top of constant changes to restrictions meant that planning and executing one of our major fundraising events, our 2020 Golf Day, was an incredible way to choose growth. Presented by Tanti Constructions, the day was a huge success, despite all its challenges and learning curves along the way. We were so grateful to the incredible golfers who allowed us to raise over $90,000 – that’s over 90 more young South Australians who will be able to access our programs and services right across regional and metropolitan SA! I would like to acknowledge our generous sponsors, auction donors, volunteers, including our amazing Golf Day committee members and staff for making this event a reality – you can view pictures from the day in our Facebook album here.
We had a special guest at the Golf Day dinner, a recent Youth Opportunities’ graduate Karina, and one of her last quotes from the night really showed just how important Youth Opportunities is for young people today, especially in this current climate.
“Right now I am so happy to be here and share my story with you because I am so grateful to be ‘here’, to have participated in this program, and to be at this point with my mental health that I can proudly claim that I am on my journey to a better future and long term happiness, even with life’s flaws and all”
As members of our Youth Opportunities family, I know you join me in appreciating the life-changing impact for every single young person that has access to opportunities like this. Time and again I see it unlock the potential that exists within these young people. It’s supporters like you who created the opportunity for Karina to imagine, pursue and live a better life than she ever had before. Thank you for all that you continue to do to support us. The opportunities we create for young people are only made possible because of your generosity.
Erin Faehrmann, Chief Executive