Changemakers - Rebecca Scott
6 February 2012 at 11:05 am
Rebecca Scott is a former scientist turned youth homelessness advocate. Her journey began when she worked at KOTO, in Vietnam, helping to train street kids to work in cafes. Bec brought the model back to Australia and founded STREAT, allowing Australian consumers to help stop homelessness the delicious way.
STREAT stops homelessness the delicious way. They harness the power of the marketplace to bring about change by training homeless youth in hospitality skills so that they can move into better, stable lives.
What are you currently working on in the organisation?
For the last couple of years we've run a highly supported vocational training program in hospitality for homeless youth with very complex issues. When we built the organisation many people thought it would be too challenging to embed the youth in our cafe operations. I'm pretty proud of what we've achieved to date – and we've absolutely shown that with the right supports, most young people can make amazing progress.
What drew you to the Not for Profit sector?
I can thank my parents for giving me a pretty strong sense of responsibility to my community. My parents did a lot of international development projects in the South Pacific when I was a teenager, and that rubbed off strongly. When I was 16 we moved to a very remote island in Vanuatu to do some building projects, and that was the first time I consciously decided I wanted to keep doing such work. Community development work has been in my blood ever since.
What was your first job in the Not for Profit sector?
Working as a painter on an international development project as a 19 year old as part of my gap year.
What do you like best about working in your current organisation?
I love the challenge of trying to address a seemingly intractable issue in a different way, working across different disciplines. I've always been interested at what happens in the space between sectors, than working in neatly defined ways. I find it more challenging, more creative, and often more effective.
I consider my greatest achievement to be……
Building a scalable social enterprise model. Before building STREAT we travelled around the globe to see what different business models existed. There are very few models being built to replicate and scale. Now that we've piloted and tested all aspects of our program, this year we start scaling. By the end of the 2012 we'll have worked with over 80 youth, and have served more than 250,000 customers across 5 cafes. And we're just getting started!
What are you reading/watching/listening to at the moment?
I'm quite hooked on The National at the moment and have been shuffling between their four earliest albums for weeks. (though I always return to Radiohead in between). I've just finished reading Murakami's Sputnik Sweetheart. I love his writing. It's insightful, rich in imagery, yet still airy. He makes writing look so easy.
If you could be or do anything else, what would it be?