‘Catch Me if You Can’ fosters strong connections between students and police

Indigenous students from Mareeba State High School have recently taken part in the mentoring program ‘Catch Me If You Can’ at PCYC Mareeba, aimed at fostering strong connections between young people and the Queensland Police Service (QPS).

Designed to use sport to develop and improve relationships between Indigenous school students and local police, Catch Me If You Can is an innovative youth mentoring program unique to PCYC Queensland.

As part of the 8-week program, students were matched with a police officer of their choice and participated in team building activities and weekly games of ‘Edor’, an Indigenous chasing and tagging game, allowing students and police officers to get to know each other in a healthy environment.

PCYC Mareeba branch manager Sergeant Mary-Anne West says the program is a great foundation for building positive relationships, as students learn from mentors including PCYC Queensland Indigenous Community Sport and Recreation Officers, Youth Justice staff and local police officers.

“I have seen so much improvement in communication and manners from the students that have attended Catch Me If You Can,” said Sergeant West.

“The young people that participated are now more engaged and willing to talk about what’s going on in their lives and at school,” she said.

Program participant Jennifer Iles was very supportive of the program, saying it helped her speak in front of people more freely.

“I really enjoyed this program because it gave us something fun to do and something to look forward to. I liked that they involved all of us mob and treated us equally with the same amount of respect,” said Ms Iles.

Another participant Hope Vinck, said the program taught her more about roles as individuals, and as communities, and the importance of teamwork.

“I liked how involved everyone was in this program, the mentors are amazing and very supportive, and the program helped me build more confidence within myself,” said Ms Vinck.

Catch Me If You Can was delivered at PCYC Mareeba through PCYC Queensland’s Indigenous Community Sport and Recreation Program, and proudly supported by Smart Salary.