South West Multicultural and Community Centre

Guiding Pacific Adolescents program

The South West Multicultural and Community Centre (SWMACC) delivers services to residents in the Campbelltown area with a focus on Pacific Island communities.

By June 2016, SWMACC was in the process of wrapping up the highly successful Emerging Pacific Youth Leadership Program (EPYLP).

It was another feather in the cap for an organisation that has actively served the western Sydney Pacific Island community for over 20 years.

But the organisation’s coordinators spotted a gap.

While many of their programs focused on individual development, there’d been few, if any that attempted to engage the family and community in an effort to steer young people away from high-risk behaviours.

The Guided Pacific Adolescent Program (GPAP) works to tap into the deep resources of the broader community and engage both young people and their parent/s.

The program is designed to attract young Pacific people between the ages of 10 and 18, from Maori, Samoan, Fijian, Niue, Cook Island and Tongan cultural backgrounds who live in the Campbelltown area. Some of these youth are at risk of homelessness.

Firstly, the program acknowledges the cultural values of the community. Secondly, it seeks to encourage a close-knit peer group who could go on to be future leaders and positively influence the community. And thirdly, it would guide the participants into making positive and informed life choices.

The program focuses on ensuring that Pacific youths in the western Sydney suburbs have opportunities in education, training and employment. Previous ELYP participants lend their newly honed leadership skills to the multi-layered program.

GPAP program highlightsGuding Pacific Adolescents program

GPAP participants and parents helped develop the Pacific Go4Fun Program, a free 10-week healthy lifestyle program for kids aged 7-13 who are above a healthy weight. The program focused on improving eating habits, fitness and confidence. 12 GPAP participants, together with a mentor, successfully completed the program.

Young people participated in a series of Pacific Climate Change workshops delivered by Pacific International facilitators, where they learnt about the challenges Pacific Islander people face around climate change. The workshops have inspired GPAP participants to play a more active role in raising awareness around climate change.

GPAP participants attended the NRL Pacific Youth Summit - Empowering Leaders. The summit’s theme was 'Awaken the Warrior' and provided a chance for Pacific youth to empower themselves and become leaders in their community. It was a great opportunity for the participants to develop leadership skills that will help them tackle some of the challenges that they may face in their communities, share their thoughts and visions for the future, celebrate cultural diversity and develop cultural connectedness on a platform where they can feel valued and respected.

The GPAP mentors have collaborated with Mission Australia, Prairiewood High School and through community forums to engage with Pacific families. Together, they encourage parent participation and awareness around the services available and identify and address barriers and challenges for Pacific students

GPAP has given Pacific youths an opportunity to share their love of culture through song and dance by getting involved with the Pacific Wave group at a number of events like the NSW Rugby Pacifica Game, the NSW AFL Multicultural Day, the NSW Pacific Cup and were invited to open the NSW Pacific Awards Night.

GPAP spotlightGPAP

Tristan is a regular GPAP participant who is a very passionate volunteer within his local community. He, with his family, volunteers in an outreach service on a fortnightly basis. He helps prepare meals at home and serves them to families who are in need.

Tristan is also a youth representative for the NSW Council for Pacific Communities where he’s involved in youth meetings, forums and community events.

His fellow GPAP participants and mentors were thrilled to learn that he was acknowledged for his dedication to his local community through a Junior Volunteer Award presented by the Mayor of Campbelltown at the NSW Pacific Awards night.

We’re proud to support SWMACC and their inspiring programs supporting young people of Pacific Islander backgrounds.

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