PCYC Beenleigh reaches out to teens in need

Throughout this challenging time of uncertainty and change when we are all practising social distancing yet experiencing social dislocation, the team at PCYC Beenleigh recognises that our work in supporting the most vulnerable at-risk young people in our communities is more critical than ever.

Like many other PCYC Queensland clubs, PCYC Beenleigh have continued providing essential programs including Youth Support Services, Safer Communities and Skilling Queenslanders for Work programs.

PCYC Beenleigh Branch Manager Sergeant Mark Haestier recognises that in a situation even adults are struggling to comprehend, this crisis has put into perspective how young people can be completely bewildered.

“This pandemic has provided a perfect opportunity for us to interact and engage at another level with some of our vulnerable members, and provide additional support, guidance, direction and hope,” said Sergeant Haestier.

“PCYC Queensland clubs continue to provide a safe place for young vulnerable people to interact, and none of us should ever underestimate that,” he said.

“My team at PCYC Beenleigh understand the importance of connecting with young people, especially those who may be experiencing mental health concerns or issues at home, and we are doing all we can to provide the support that is needed.”

Most recently, this has involved Youth Support Officer Carmel Kneepkens coming up with the original and compassionate idea of creating and sending personally crafted care baskets to some members.

“Each care basket has been tailored to complement each young person’s journey and goals, and included items like resistance bands and juggling balls for one young man missing his sports, and colouring books and colouring pencils for a young woman who enjoys being creative,” said Ms Kneepkens.

“I also asked Sergeant Heastier to write a small note to each client, and he ended up writing a personalised letter to each person reflective of their own journey and included motivational quotes,” she said.

“I was extremely humbled to send those letters. They not only demonstrated the knowledge he has of the young people in the club, they made me feel valued and appreciated as a staff member and proud to be part of this team.”

All the clients have understandably loved the baskets, and many have said they came at a critical time when their mental health was at a low. One such member Lyric, aged 17, was completely overwhelmed when she received the care basket.

“When I received the gift and the letter it made me very emotional thinking that the PCYC Beenleigh team were thinking of what all the youth in Beenleigh were going through during this complicated and confusing time,” said Lyric.

“The gift was lovely a colouring book and coloured pencils to keep myself occupied, a workout guide and yoga band as well as juggling balls so I can remain active with my body and mind and a lot of goodies as well to enjoy.”

“The letter however I did not expect at all and was handwritten by Sergeant Haestier. I have never received a letter like that before. He made me remind myself of how strong and brave I am. It definitely makes me emotional reading it.”

“Having a strong and willing PCYC Beenleigh family behind me to help through my life, to reach my goal of being a worker in the field of Child Protection is truly what I am most grateful for.”

In the words of Jack Layton, “Love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.”

For more information on PCYC Beenleigh click here.