The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow. However, without celebrating and engaging young people in all aspects of the community they may not have the opportunity to actively participate in the development of today’s society.
This is just one of the reasons why the Youth Affairs Council of WA (YACWA) addresses the exclusion of young people in a rapidly changing society. Speaking at The Knowledge Exchange, Donna Quinn, YACWA Project Manager, expressed the importance of focusing on the variety of needs experienced by young people.
“It is also important to engage young people who may slip through the cracks”
In order to identify and meet the needs of young people YACWA consult the demographic, develop networks and deliver projects aimed at West Australian youth. Donna suggested taking advantage of existing youth groups and networks like local government’s Youth Advisory Councils. It is also important to remember young people who may slip through the cracks and be disengaged with the school system or sporting clubs, which is where organisations like Police and Community Youth Centres can be helpful.
While recognising the challenges and opportunities that can result from collaborating with young people, Donna explained how this collaborative approach resulted in the development of YACWA’s Music Feedback project. When listening to personal reflections by young people involved in Music Feedback, it reinforced the role that the project has in encouraging young people to talk about mental health and mental illness.
With transport, intentional self-harm and poisoning being the leading causes of death from injury among young people aged 15 – 24 in WA, Donna advocated for the importance of working with young people to reduce the impact that injury is having on young Western Australians.
Written by Roisin Sweeney, Injury Control Council of WA