Removing the Barriers to Volunteering for Young Australians
29 November 2011 at 5:34 pm
A new program which aims to get young Australians volunteering in their local communities and in the Asia-Pacific region hopes to have 50,000 young people take part over the next five years.
The Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) has developed ‘Young People Without Borders’, a program which will support young people aged 13 to 17 to get active and involved in their own communities, CEO of the FYA Jan Owen told the National Conference on Volunteering.
Owen said at the culmination of the program, when the participants have turned 18, they will have the opportunity to spend 3, 6 or 12 months volunteering overseas.
Termed the ‘Start Year’, the program will offer young people to chance to teach English, coach sports and do community work in the Asia-Pacific region.
Owen said the program is a flagship program for the FYA and “a massive gateway for young people to engage with volunteering”.
“As the whole axis of the world tilts toward our region, and Australia becomes more central….our young people need to be connected and engaged in the region,” said Owen.
She says the program will involve many Not for Profit organisations across Australia.
The program will be launched in 2012, with 250 young Australians volunteering in China and India, amongst other countries.
Owen said she hopes in about five or six years there will be 50,000 young people who have taken part.
“We want this to be in the DNA of our young people, in a very real way” ,said Owen.
Owen said the program is an important step in addressing some of the problems facing young Australians.
“Young people often report feeling lost, anchorless and disconnected, and that’s a serious issue”.
“They report struggling to deal with a world that is too big and complex for them to understand”.
Owen says volunteering increases the sense of self, the ‘internal compass’ among young people, and prevents anti-social behaviours. She said the data shows it has even greater benefits for young people that are disadvantaged.
To find out more about the Young People Without Borders Program, or to apply to take part, visit www.fya.org.au/initiatives/youngpeoplewithoutborders/
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