Local business community supports successful youth training program

L-R: Kam Shirzada, Kevin Covey, Constable Greg Newman, Edith Blanck, Lachlan Zettl, Robert Flipp, Peter Shadforth and Sam Williams.

An innovative Sunshine Coast based youth training program will continue its important work after receiving a significant boost of support from various Bli Bli business and community organisations.

Project Booyah commenced on the Gold Coast in 2012 and the program has proven to be so successful that it now operates in eleven locations across Queensland. The Sunshine Coast program is supported by local organisations such as Bli Bli Neighbourhood Watch, Parklakes Central with the developers Peter Shadforth and Robert Flipp donating $4,000 over the next two years and Bli Bli Priceline Pharmacy where manager Kam Shirzadi has donated a host of toiletry items for male and female participants.

Co-ordinator Greg Newman said the Sunshine Coast Project Booyah takes between ten to twelve local youths every six months where they participate over two days a week to reconnect disengaged teenagers with their community and transition them back into education or work.

“The program uses a variety of educational strategies not always seen in the normal school setting but these strategies have continued to produce outstanding results over the past twelve years and we have seen enormous success in all aspects of the program including a reduction in offending, victimisation, re-engagement in education as well as improved employment opportunities.

“At the start of the course, we often experience challenging behaviours and it’s really rewarding to see how much their demeanour changes and self-confidence increases when they graduate from the program. Project Booyah provides a unique opportunity to change perceptions and relationships between young people and police and we often see lasting relationships formed,” he said.

Edith Blanck Area Coordinator for Bli Bli Neighbourhood Watch has been a long term supporter of Project Booyah and says the results of the program speak for themselves.

“We all know about the youth crime crisis which seems to be spread across the state, but this program is unique and it is getting great results. There’s no doubt these children face many challenges either at home, in their communities or peer groups so it’s been wonderful to see so many participants complete the program and reengage into further education or employment. Best of all Greg and his team work with them until they achieve that goal.

“As always, funding for these types of programs is limited so it’s great that organisations like Parklakes Central contribute to the overall success of young people within our community. Peter Shadforth and Robert Flipp have been involved in the Parklakes developments for many years and their ongoing support has included working with us on our Bli Bli Unite FunRun in aid of Victims of Domestic Violence and with our Youth Program Skate Park competition. They’ve always been very supportive of the local community and they have indicated they will continue to do so into the future,” Edith said.

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