Guiding Pacific Adolescents Program
The program worked by tapping into the resources of the broader community to engage both the child and their parents.
South West Multicultural and Community Centre
Pacific Adolescents Program:
Apr 2017 – Mar 2018
South West Multicultural and Community Centre Inc. is a community-based charitable organisation that delivers services to residents in the Campbelltown area with a focus on Pacific Island communities.
By June 2016, South West Multicultural and Community Centre (SWMACC) was in the process of wrapping up the highly successful Emerging Pacific Youth Leadership Program (EPYLP).
It was another achievement for an organisation that had actively served the western Sydney Pacific Island community for more than 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 engaged families and communities in an effort to steer young people away from high-risk behaviours. “Culturally effective engagement work is one of our key strengths,” acknowledges the SWMACC Coordinator, Malaemie (Mal) Fruean. “So with that in mind, we decided to develop a program that collaborated with other agencies and schools to create a holistic program of sessions, forums and activities.”
The Guided Pacific Adolescent Program (GPAP) worked by tapping into the resources of the broader community to engage both the child and their parents.
Delivered across 12 months (April 2017 to March 2018), the program attracted young people from Maori, Samoan, Fijian, Niue, Cook Island and Tongan cultural backgrounds who lived in Campbelltown, Blacktown, Liverpool, Prairiewood and Mt Druitt. In all, 125 youths participated.
“We set the bar high in terms of what we wanted to get out of the program,” explains Mal. Firstly, the program acknowledged the community’s cultural values. Secondly, it sought to encourage a close-knit peer group who would go on to be future leaders and who could positively influence the community. And thirdly, the program looked to guide the participants to make positive and informed life choices.
The program kicked many goals, all focused on making sure that Pacific youth in the western suburbs of Sydney were given the education, training and support they needed in all aspects of life. Previous ELYP participants lent their newly honed leadership skills to the multi-layered program. The five key objectives for the program were:
- Support foundations (a voice for young people and importance of family relationships)
- Cultural awareness
- Training, employment and education
- Performing arts
- Sports You-Fit-In
“All the kids have something very important to offer,” smiles Mal. “We hope that by helping enhance their family structures and develop their self confidence, they all get a glimpse of that by the program’s end.”
Through a variety of workshops, events, organisations and partnerships, GPAP has achieved success across all five of their objectives. Some of the highlights are detailed below.
In this collaboration with Mission Australia and Success Starts with an Idea, workshops and community consultations engaged with Pacific families from Prairiewood High School. GPAP was also involved in other school activities that encouraged parents to play an active role in their children’s education.
Pacific Go4Fun Program
GPAP participants and parents helped the 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.
This 10-week fitness program included workshops about fitness and wellbeing, as well as presentations and the chance to meet high profile sports stars. The U-FIT-IN program was also piloted through Prairiewood High School and, as a result of this, more schools are now interested in trialling it. The U-Fit In project has also been successful in securing funding to sustain the program in 2019.
Some GPAP participants were selected to attend the Camp Proteen Program, an overnight camp with a focus on cultural identity. The camp was run by a partnership between Campbelltown Police, Mission Australia and GPAP. Following the success of this camp, NSW Police have now requested that the program be delivered to other areas. Camp Proteen has also been successful in sustaining ongoing funding for this program.
Beach Safety Training
Around 25 youths took part in beach safety training at Port Kembla beach during the summer holidays. A great outcome from this partnership with Afghan Association was that GPAP participants could access free swimming lessons.
Pacific Wave group involvement
GPAP partnered with the ONE LOVE Mentoring program that’s delivered in a number of high schools in the south west Sydney area. GPAP participants were given the opportunity to share their love of culture by becoming mentors with the Pacific Wave Cultural Program. They performed 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 spotlight on Tristan
“I first got interested in climate change in 2014,” explains Tristan. “The Pacific Island canoe flotilla sailed into Darling Harbour and I went down to see what was happening.” By 2016, Tristan had become a passionate Pacific Climate Warrior, and a Youth Representative for the NSW Council for Pacific Communities, volunteering his time and talents at youth meetings, forums and community events.
Tristan also volunteers with his family in an outreach service on a fortnightly basis for a local charity. He helps prepare meals at home and serves them to families who are in need. “We were so proud for Tristan when he was given the 2017 Junior Volunteer Award at the NSW Pacific Awards night,” said Mal. “He’s been an active participant in the GPAP program. It’s great to see him getting the public acknowledgement he deserves.”
We also supported SWMACC’s Emerging Pacific Youth Leadership Program (Jul 2015 - Jun 2016).