An encounter in District Court as a newly-minted Queensland Police Officer saw Sergeant Mark Haestier follow a calling to PCYC Queensland, where he has helped to change the stories of hundreds of young people across the state.
I emigrated from the United Kingdom, having served 19 years in the Metropolitan Police in London, and made the transition to a serving officer with the Queensland Police Service.
Completing my duties as a District Court Orderly one day, when I found myself sitting in the dock next to a twelve-year-old standing trial for armed robbery and possession of a firearm. I was taken aback at the age of this young woman and how she might have found herself in this situation.
A few days later, assisting with the Big Brother program – an initiative to anonymously connect young people with Police Officers – I found myself sitting behind a screen, listening to this young woman telling her story. It was here that a fifteen year connection with a this young woman focused on changing her story began – one that has seen this now accomplished and highly-respected individual succeed in a career as a Youth Worker supporting other young people like her former self.
The theme of chance encounters continues in my story as I happened to meet the Youth Club Manager of PCYC Beenleigh as he was preparing to go on leave. I was offered an opportunity to relieve in his position whilst he was away – after four weeks in the role, my fate with PCYC Queensland was sealed and I’ve never left.
In my time at PCYC Beenleigh, I had the privilege of working with some absolutely outstanding youth workers and staff. Together with another QPS officer we created the Standing Tall Against Abusive Relationships program in 2012 – a program which has now grown into the statewide Rise Up and Be Yourself program for women who are experiencing domestic and family violence. Alongside my colleague Peter Speight we started The Possibility Program to assist people living with disability which attracted over 300 people per week to the club. And as a team we proudly introduced the Two Tribes (Together We Obtain Trust Respect Inspiration Belief Enthusiasm & Support) program to assist refugees and asylum seekers to assimilate into their communities- a program which has reached over 200 young people.
Throughout this work, hearing the stories from the young people, and witnessing their perseverance, resolve & resilience left an impact on me personally that I will live with forever,
My time at PCYC so far has also shown me the power of community – seeing our community come together for our annual fundraising events to contribute much needed funds to support the expansion of programs, the introduction of new resources and the creation of purpose-built spaces to welcome and engage young people.
Making the decision to join PCYC remains one of the best things to have happened to me and the last 16 years have been an incredible journey filled with amazing milestones for myself and my colleagues as we devote our time and expertise to the young people, we work with who are kicking their own goals and reaching dreams they never even thought possible.
Sergeant Mark Haestier
Youth Club Manager Caboolture