We urgently need your support to help vulnerable and at-risk young Queenslanders like Kiarra to change their stories.
It is essential that our services remain available across Queensland to engage and empower at-risk and vulnerable young people to choose a path that will lead them out of despair and disadvantage. We urgently need your help to make this happen.
At age 14, most children are finding their feet in high school, worried about things like friendships and homework. But for Kiarra, life was different.
At 14 years of age, Kiarra found herself homeless. A difficult home life and no family support had left Kiarra with no choice but to go it alone. Through some of her most formative years, Kiarra learnt to support herself, balancing casual jobs with her schoolwork in a never-ending struggle to let neither suffer. It was upon finishing high school though, that Kiarra says her support system of teachers and peers fell away.
“I felt really alone and like no one understood what I was going through. There was no meaning to life,” Kiarra says.
Kiarra’s circumstances brought her to PCYC Sunshine Coast initially with the goal of achieving her licence through PCYC Queensland’s Braking the Cycle mentor driver program.
“I walked into the PCYC on a random day. I was struggling a lot back then, I didn’t have anything else planned,” Kiarra says.
But after connecting with PCYC Sunshine Coast Youth Club Manager Sergeant Mick Hughes, Kiarra was handpicked to participate in Team Up.
TEAM UP is a 10 week intensive program bringing together a cohort of local young men or women facing challenges in engaging with school and their community, which are often magnified by difficult circumstances in their home lives.
Sergeant Hughes says he is proud to have seen Kiarra put her best foot forward during the program.
“She’s been a shining light, just a really happy person despite her challenges,” he says.
“Her attitude to life is just inspiring”.
Now seventeen, Kiarra lives independently, working three jobs to support herself. A talented artist with a passion for Marine Biology and with dreams of one day becoming a teacher, Kiarra has her sights firmly set on completing a number of PCYC programs to help make her dreams a reality.
“I haven’t come from the greatest home life so I didn’t really have many role models,” she says.
“I would love to go to SYLP to connect with other young people like me, to learn how to be a leader and to get that feedback and support from everyone around me about how to succeed.”
The State Youth Leadership Program (SYLP) is a multi-stage training program designed to develop young people aged 14-25 into leaders. This is achieved through adventure based learning and engaging challenges and offers young people a chance to step out of their comfort zone, challenge themselves and develop skills useful in school, community, work and life.
In the 6 short months since Kiarra first walked into PCYC Sunshine Coast, she has created a plan for her future and now has the support needed to achieve her goals.
“I’ve met so many amazing people who have supported me through things that I want to do, not just what they think I’m going to be good at or what is expected of me,” she says.
“When people didn’t believe I could be anything, the people at PCYC did.”
We need your help today to ensure Kiarra, and thousands of young people like her, can continue to raise their gaze beyond their challenges and consider goals and dreams they would have never thought possible.
Your donation will ensure programs like Team Up and SYLP can continue to empower young people like Kiarra all over Queensland.
It is through the generosity of our supporters that PCYC Queensland opens the doors of our 57 clubs each day, giving young people like Kiarra a second chance.
“If I hadn’t gone to PCYC that day, I wouldn’t be here,” Kiarra says.
“When I’m at PCYC, people care and they want to know if I’m okay. It’s a safe place to go when you have no where else.”
Please donate today to support Kiarra’s journey towards success, and support PCYC Queensland’s 70,000 youth members across Queensland.