Image source: Living Choice Australia
Graham Hobbs OAM has been a dedicated and longstanding supporter of Youth Opportunities for over twenty years, not only through his philanthropy, but as a former board member and Chairperson.
Graham has made incredibly generous contributions to Youth Opportunities, both personally with his family, and through the businesses he is Co-Director of (EDP Hotels and Living Choice) – continuing to make a significant positive impact on young people in South Australia through our Personal Leadership Programs and Scholarships.
We recently asked Graham to reflect on our partnership together and why Youth Opportunities is important to him…
What inspired you to join Youth Opportunities?
“I was initially inspired by Peter Marshman (the founder of Youth Opportunities), who I met at University and we became firm friends. He often talked about his work at Youth Opportunities and suggested that I attend a Personal Leadership Program graduation at Le Fevre High School. It was there that I witnessed firsthand the impact that the program had on the students, which sparked my interest in supporting the cause.”
Why do you think it is important to give back to the community?
“It’s all too easy to go through life in a bubble and be immune to and ignorant of the hardships and difficulties that others may face. I feel it’s important to give back to the community and help those who were not lucky enough to get the same start to life as I was given.”
Have you had a favourite moment during your time at Youth Opportunities, heard a story or met a young person who really made an impression on you and why?
“My favourite moment during my time supporting Youth Opportunities, surprisingly does not relate to a student’s story – I attended a Youth Opportunities’ graduation and one of the mothers of the graduates asked to make an impromptu speech. With tears of joy, she explained how her young person, since completing the Personal Leadership Program, had transformed her negative, abusive household to one of happiness and care.”
“During our program her son had come home to her and told her that he didn’t want to argue and yell anymore – he said that he loved her and wanted to be her friend. She explained that this changed their whole family dynamic, and the household changed from a place of abuse to a place of harmony and happiness.”
“That’s when I fully understood how the Personal Leadership Programs not only help the young people that complete them, but also positively impact on their families, friends, teachers and community.”
What would you say to someone thinking about supporting Youth Opportunities?
“For someone thinking of supporting Youth Opportunities, I would say that while other charities undoubtedly do great work, the benefits to the community are not as obvious.”
“I chose to support Youth Opportunities because the benefits of their programs and services are on full display, at every Youth Opportunities’ graduation. Hearing stories of young people with increased confidence, wellbeing and motivation, ready to go out into the world and tackle life’s challenges head-on, is so inspiring.”
Tell us about your interest in our Sponsorship & Scholarship Program – what value do you see in providing scholarships to the young people who complete our program?
“The Youth Opportunities’ Sponsorship & Scholarship Program is all about providing Personal Leadership Program graduates with opportunities or items that remove any further barriers to them achieving their goals. The satisfaction I get out of contributing to scholarships is knowing that I have helped a young person achieve their driver’s licence, obtain a laptop, or complete a course which otherwise would not have been possible due to financial constraints.”
With Youth Opportunities’ focusing on developing employability skills with young people we work with, how do your businesses help the future of SA?
“The businesses that I am associated with, look to employ Youth Opportunities’ graduates wherever possible. As an example, my business partner and I are building a large accommodation hotel at Murray Bridge, the Bridgeport Hotel, opening in May 2021. We need to hire 150 staff and are looking particularly at employing Youth Opportunities’ graduates from the nearby Murray Bridge High School to fill some of these vacancies. We believe in young people and would love to provide opportunities to kickstart their careers.”