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We urgently need your help to change the stories of disadvantaged young Queenslanders like Jorja.

It is vital 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 hardship.

We urgently need your help to make this happen. Please donate today.

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At 14 years of age, Jorja found herself homeless. With challenges in her home life and problems at school, Jorja saw her only escape as choosing a life living rough on the streets.

“You learn to live by yourself when you’re on the streets,” Jorja says, “You don’t have a home to go to, you don’t have nice clothes. You can’t shower, you can’t look after yourself.”

After 5 months of constantly searching for food, struggling to find money and a safe place to sleep at night, Jorja discovered her local PCYC Club and what programs it offered to help get her back on her feet.

“I found out I could do Get Set for Work, which would mean I didn’t have to battle it out at school and could get my education in a way that works for me,” she says.

Get Set for Work is a 10-week program to provide disengaged young people aged 15-19 years with nationally recognised training, combined with integrated learning support measures and foundation skills that will enable them to successfully transition to employment and/or further education and training.

Attending the program also allowed Jorja to develop new friendships and find a supportive team of staff who have her best interests at heart.

“At PCYC, I can experience what a normal life feels like. I’ve got people I can trust, who I can talk to and who will help me with my problems,” Jorja says.

“I also realised there’s Boxing and the Gym at PCYC, and many other ways I can get the support I need for whatever I want to do in life.”

Jorja credits the PCYC Boxing After Dark Program with improving her mental health and increasing her self-confidence.

“I love being able to express how I feel through Boxing,” she says. “Boxing is where I am most comfortable, I can get my frustration out in a good way and at the same time I’m learning how to defend myself.”

Boxing After Dark engages at-risk and disadvantaged young people in a group setting under the mentorship of a Police Officer, sparking respectful relationships and providing a positive alternative to anti-social behaviours.

Over the past 14 years, Police Sergeant Mark Haestier has worked with PCYC by delivering programs that offer disadvantaged young people like Jorja the chance to achieve more than they ever thought possible.

“Often we’re the most consistent adult in their lives” Sergeant Haestier says. “We are there for them, building trust and a mutual respect which opens up the possibilities for how we can work together to reach their goals.”

PCYC Queensland impacts the lives of young people by playing a critical role in improving their everyday lives, being there through some of their important life milestones and helping to change their story.

“We want these kids to engage with us for years to come. A school-based program turns into a leadership program, then an educational training and employment program, which turns into us helping them to get a driver’s licence and then ultimately finding meaningful employment,” Sergeant Haestier says.

A focal point of our work with young people across Queensland is using Sport and Recreation to open doors, start conversations, build trust and unlock the potential of youth like Jorja.

“We help them to see what they are capable of and empower them to apply that in all aspects of their lives,” Sergeant Haestier says.

Through her connection with her local Club, Jorja’s life is now back on track, and she is working toward a future career of service.

“I would love to give back to my community and my country through becoming a Police Officer or joining the Defence Force,” she says. “If I wasn’t at PCYC, I’d still be on the streets. This is my safe place now.”

With your help a young person like Jorja in your local community could find their turning point and begin to change their story. Your donations support our work in providing over 50,000 young people across our 56 Queensland Clubs with a safe space where they can realise their potential and work towards achieving their dreams.

Together we can build safer, healthier communities through youth development. PLEASE DONATE TODAY.