Kyla Raffin, 19, is under no illusion where she would be if the PCYC didn’t get involved in her life.
“I probably would have ended up in a juvenile detention centre,” she said.
“I was getting into a lot of trouble with the police for the wrong reasons but also hanging around with the wrong people.
“When I was 14 I was just very angry because of all the things I went through and I was taking it out on myself and everyone else around me.”
Kyla is one of the of the success stories of NSW Police Commissioner’s Mick Fuller strategy to connect disengaged youth to employment opportunities and support services.
RISEUP incorporates job ready programs, mentoring and vocational training for at risk youth aged between 15 and 18 to divert them from criminal activity.
Commissioner Fuller was joined by Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Police minister Troy Grant, and PCYC NSW chief executive Dominic Teakle, to officially launch RISEUP at Woolloomooloo PCYC on Wednesday.
“It has been my long-held view that by investing in preventative strategies with our young people, we can save a generation of children from a life of crime,” Commissioner Fuller said.
“RISEUP is breaking through barriers to engage our vulnerable young people from heading down a less desirable path in life and giving them a career start, which is a priority of mine.
“Importantly, employment gives our youth a sense of achievement, pride and structure they might not be getting in a traditional family environment and it’s humbling to know we have some of the country’s biggest businesses standing beside us to support our future leaders.”
For Kyla, who has been working at Pullman Magenta Shores Resort for a year, she credits Senior Constable Racquel Hasset for her turnaround.
“There were a few times I was arrested and Racquel came and picked me up...that was when I started straightening everything out. That was a reality check...I realised there is more to life than being a little ratbag,” she said.
“To have Racquel be a police officer that turned around and wasn’t just the stereotypical idea that everyone has of police that just wants to lock you up and put you away.
“I didn’t re-offend as much when Raquel was in my life because you don’t want to get into trouble because you know that they are not trying to get you into trouble, they are trying to help you at the end of the day.”
The initiative will operate state-wide in partnership with PCYC NSW supported by a cornerstone funding grant from the Macquarie Group Foundation and a commitment to jobs and funding from Snowy Hydro.
“PCYC is a proud partner in the delivery of this program and it sits at the head of what PCYC stands for – empowerment of young people,” Mr Teakle said.
Premier Berejiklian added: “This is an outstanding initiative that will build on the excellent work NSW Police are doing to reduce crime across the state, while further boosting the employment prospects of young people.”
The NSW Police Force is encouraging employers to consider the benefits of supporting disengaged young people.
Businesses and organisations that have joined the initiative include Macquarie Group, Snowy Hydro, Allianz, Steggles, Commonwealth Bank, Hungry Jacks, NSW TrainLink, IGA, Bunnings and TAFE NSW.
- To become a participating business or for more information visit riseup.org.au.