New program to help at-risk young people rewrite their futures

Danny Clayton and MMAD alumni Paz

Musicians Making a Difference (MMAD), based in Gosford, is set to deliver an early intervention program for at-risk youth thanks to a $440,000 grant from the Federal Government’s Safer Communities Fund.

MADD has been a creative safe haven for young people in the Central Coast community for over 15 years and its Rewriting Futures program will reach out to young people most in need.

Spokesperson Dominic Brook said its work on the frontline reaches the young young people through creative mentoring initiatives, with positive outcomes including a reduction in intent to commit crime or to re-offend, as reported by program participants.

“With increased capacity, MMAD can expand this reach and efficacy within the Central Coast community,” Brook said.

“Rewriting Futures addresses complex youth issues that can lead to entry and re-entry into the criminal justice system using the power of creative mentoring.

“The program will operate four consecutive times over a two-year period.

“The grant furthers our capacity as a charity to support at risk young people to make positive choices and to find their place in the community.

“Every young person deserves the opportunity to live their potential.”

Brook said young people at MMAD go on to become the musicians making a difference within the community.

These include former participant Daniel Harvey, who overcame a situation of homelessness and disengagement from education to study music at university and represent Australia in the World Championships of Performing Arts, winning Gold and returning home to inspire other young people who may be at risk of following a negative path in life.

Member for Robertson, Lucy Wicks, said that Rewriting Futures will be another practical community-led project supporting high-risk young people in breaking the cycle of repeat offending.

“The Rewriting Futures: Crime Prevention for At-Risk Youth program will provide local youth with the support they need to help keep them away from negative influences and prevent anti-social behaviour,” Wicks said.

The program includes a series of free and innovative music, dance, writing and mentoring initiatives that will provide pathways for Central Coast youth who have recently been released from juvenile detention and those who are at risk of entering the youth criminal justice system.

“We know that some young people engage in activities or have negative experiences that leave them at risk of disengaging from our wider community,” Wicks said.

“MMAD does vital work in helping these people on the right track.”

Terry Collins