Young People Connected Program
25 June 2004 at 1:06 pm
The Vodafone Australia Foundation (VAF) has formed a partnership with three major Not for Profit organisations to use its mobile telephone technology to help youth at risk!
Barnardos Australia, Mission Australia and Youth Off the Streets (YOTS) provide a wide range of youth services supporting young people who are homeless or are at risk of homelessness . These three organisations, the VAF and the Vodafone Australia Business have collaborated to develop the youth focussed Young People Connected Program.
The Young People Connected Program will allow young people to use mobile communication technology (pre-paid mobile telephones) to keep connected with the agencies supporting them as well as family and friends.
Youth workers will be supplied with mobile technology that they will share with young people who are part of the program.
This will include phones that have pre-loaded SIM cards, so the young people can call the services they are connected to. Workers will keep copies of the SIM cards, so they can replace the information for them, if it gets lost.
VAF says the program will help youth workers collect key information about young people quickly and easily at the point of first contact, where they are most likely to obtain and record this information. This will improve the agencies maintenance of central data banks of information pertinent to young people in the program (subject to appropriate privacy protocols).
There are facilities for young people to recharge their batteries, utilising centralised agencies and / or mainstream facilities where possible.
With the use of special communications software, young people have automated reminders for appointments and activities, everything from a medical appointment to a rock concert!
VAF says young people will be supported to take responsibility for setting up their appointments themselves, to develop their independence and improve living and organisational skills.
The aim of the Program is to also strengthen youth service agencies’ work , helping increase the efficiencies of their operations and keep connected.
The agencies say that the lives of many homeless young people are typically very chaotic and unsettled, and they may have limited capacity to make clear sound decisions about their life choices. They lack life skills that many young people, living in more supported environments, take for granted. They have few systems to keep track of personal information, and this increases their isolation.
The task of youth service agencies in part is to assist them develop these skills and encourage them to take greater control of shaping their lives, and building order into it. The Young People Connected Program is part of that.
For Vodafone workers, the partnership offers opportunity to be involved as volunteers with the partner agencies.
The program will initially begin in Sydney from July 1 and VAF and the agencies expect that up to 150 young people a year will benefit from the increased connection made through mobile phone technology.