Keeping young people off the streets, engaged in sport, creative arts and learning how to build resilience are the aims of a new program launched by Orange City Council.
AXLR8 pairs young people, aged from 12 to 18 years, with trained mentors as well as giving them access to service providers, sporting clubs, artists and musicians to help keep them engaged and build the skills they need.
Orange Mayor Reg Kidd said the program, funded by the Alcohol & Drug Foundation, was designed to help young people deal with life’s hardships without resorting to the use of drugs and alcohol.
“One of the best ways to keep at risk young people safe is to teach them the resilience to bounce back from hardship, resist peer pressure and cope with life’s stressors,” Cr Kidd said.
“This program gives them someone to turn to when the going gets tough, activities and opportunities to get involved with so they don’t become bored and develop anti-social behaviours.”
Orange City Council is looking to recruit mentors to join the program as active role models for young people.
Orange City Council’s Services Policy Chair Scott Munro said Council would provide the training prospective mentors needed.
“We’re on the look-out for people who have an open mind and are willing to be able to spend at least an hour each week with their mentee,” Cr Munro said.
“It may involve taking the young person to a sporting activity, helping the mentee with their homework or doing something the pair of them enjoy such as playing an instrument.
“AXLR8 is about showing young people how to have fun and connect with others without the need for drugs and alcohol.
“We’re looking for adults who want to help develop a harmonious community through reaching out and helping our city’s ‘at risk’ teens.
“In partnership with local business, Kids HQ, the young people will be provided with targeted workshops to increase their ability to navigate challenging life events, and increase their knowledge of the harms associated with drugs and alcohol.