The Youth Space works with any and every young person. We aim to be inclusive which means it doesn’t matter who you are, what you believe, where you come from, how much you earn or what you’ve been up to – you’re welcome here.
To achieve inclusivity, we had to face up to a few facts – such as “we can’t be experts in the culture and history of every young person who walks through our doors”, so instead of trying to be across all of that we aim instead to be an expert in the one culture that all of our young men and women have in common – the culture of young people, which is an amazing collection of influences from all around the world.
As an Australian organisation and as a group of people who love their country, we pay special deference the First People’s of Australia, the Indigenous men and women of our nation, and in everything we do we seek to honour their spirit and the contributions they have made to our country.
Many years ago a local Elder told us the history of Redcliffe. They also shared with us the history of the land on which our building is located. That story broke our hearts. It is too sad to repeat here, but that Elder, Uncle Peter Bird, told us that it was his belief the spirits of Redcliffe were happy with our work because what we do protects the future of our community and gives the young people of Redcliffe a sense of place. We draw great strength from that and it certainly influences our work every day.
Defining the philosophy of an organisation is a big thing. It takes into account some of what we mentioned above but it also takes into account therapeutic frameworks and ideals and aspirations. A good part of defining our philosophy is defining who and what we are… and that isn’t as easy… because as an organisation we tend to defy categories.
To do all of that would take pages and pages of writing that we doubt many people visiting a website would want to take the time to read, so below we try and give you the gist of who and what we are in a few simple paragraphs!
It’s a cliche, but we’re an enigma wrapped up in a riddle and we like that, because that’s what young people are. Neither they, nor their issues, can be easily categorised. Neither can we.
The Youth Space isn’t exactly a crisis service, though we are constantly supporting young people in crisis. We’re not a welfare association though we often find ourselves doing that sort of work. We’re not an accommodation service but we work very closely with our local youth shelter (the amazing Chameleon House). We’re not a church, but we are often tending to the emotional and spiritual well being of young people as well as their physical well being.
So, what are we?
We’re an organisation that works across every issue and situation a young person can encounter from the simple stuff like helping a young person do up a resume, to the absolute extremes of supporting young people with intense mental health issues, or drug and alcohol addictions, or who are the survivors of sexual assault and family abuse. We don’t try to specialise in any particular issue or part of a young person’s life because every part is important. We don’t want to turn young people away because we’re not funded to do something, so we don’t specialise in just one thing. Thankfully, there are a lot of organisations out there who do specialise, and they support us and we support them in our mutual work of making life better for young men and women.
If we were forced to choose one thing we’re specialists in, it would be working with extreme and challenging behaviours and supporting young people between the ages of 10 and 25 who are facing exceptional challenge in their lives.
The definition of ‘exceptional challenge’ is relative. That means that for some people, that challenge might be getting over a broken relationship, or passing their year 12 exams, or overcoming a destructive habit. We don’t place one above the other. If it’s hurting a young person and making life difficult for them, we’ll be there to lend a hand.
Our role is to be a voice for young people because sometimes young people don’t know what to say, how to say it or whom to say it to. Our job is make sure the needs and issues of young people receive the exposure they deserve to our government leaders, the media and the wider community.
We’re here to fill gaps, create responsive initiatives that address need and to build networks and pathways for young people that can support them to move forward in their lives and embrace positive change processes.
We work with the “pointy end” of the stick by bringing services and government agencies together to wrap what is called ‘holistic support’ around a young person while also providing the various levels of support we’re able to provide thanks to the government funding we receive, the business sponsorship we achieve and community donations.
To do this work properly we need to work from a particular philosophy that guides us and everything we do.
Our philosophy is simple. It can be broken down into four words. Community. Support. Compassion. Hope.
Community is an inclusive term. For us, it means we don’t cater to one particular culture, socio-economic background, religion or gender. We were created at the request of our community, and we exist to serve our community by taking care of those young people who are a little too hard to handle or who have issues going on that require special attention. As an organisation we seek to create community in the micro and the macro – meaning here at the Youth Space, and in the wider community that is the Redcliffe Peninsula. First and foremost we are a place for young people that aims to support them on their life journey. We acknowledge that the challenges facing young people can be extensive and that for some there are a lot of barriers standing between them and their goal, but we feel life in general is a worthwhile voyage full of change that can sometimes happen quickly, and sometimes not. Our commitment is to be there for the whole journey.
It’s what we’re all about. Supporting young people to achieve, to overcome, to change, to form relationships, to build bridges, to get the assistance they need from whomever and wherever they need it, and to guide them through achievable processes that will help them build a better future for themselves.
Let’s be blunt here… there’s more than enough crap in the world. There are more than enough people wanting to take advantage of us all. There are more than enough people throwing criticism left right and centre, abusing each other and getting all angsty about all sorts of different things. Life is hard for everyone right now, but it’s not made any easier by being negative or angry. We don’t believe the world needs to be like that. We don’t want that for our children and we’re pretty sure you don’t either. When we watch the news and when we look at the issues that are being argued it sometimes feels like compassion has been leached out of the world and the world is suffering as a result. We want to see that change so we’re trying to “be the change we want to see in the world” and our way of doing that is to always extend compassion to people and to seek to accept them and love them, to respect and assist them in whatever way we can. That’s not a religious philosophy – though the concept is certainly a part of many religions – it’s just our philosophy as a group of like-minded people who care, and who come from many different backgrounds, religions, cultures, education levels and experiences that have led us to where we are today. Everyone who is involved with this organisation had been touched by the gift of compassion at some point in their and that changed us for the better. It’s one of the most powerful tools for positive change that we can think of.
Everyone deserves a bright future. That’s our personal hope for every young person we work with, and it’s something we try to get through to those young people who come to us in a state of “hope-less-ness”. Sometimes change is as much an attitude as it is a series of frameworks or actions and goals that are put into place to support a person. We think hope is highly under-rated, and we rate it pretty highly.
So… that’s our very simple philosophy in a nutshell.
There’s a lot more we could say about who we are and what we do and why we do it, and if you want to know more we are happy to chat. Call us, shoot us a quick e-mail, arrange an appointment so we can meet, whatever. We’ll happily talk to anyone about the way we work, because our 11 year history (as of 2013) shows that it works.