Under the guise of a local library coffee shop, Project Booyah, a Townsville based leadership and mentoring program is cleverly serving up a life changing program for young people at risk of offending.
Visiting Project Booyah’s Coffee Shop at Thuringowa Library in Townsville today (4 July) Minister for Youth Di Farmer said the initiative was one of several local responses to address youth re-offending.
“The young people who come into the Youth Justice system often come from tough and traumatic backgrounds,” she said.
“As a result, many of them become disengaged from family, community and education, making it all the harder for them to enter the workforce.
“Project Booyah’s early intervention approach tackles these issues by giving young people training and an education they can be proud of.”
Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper said Project Booyah is also highly successful at reducing offending, with a 50% reduction in offences committed by participants post-program.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants have shown even better outcomes, achieving a 69% reduction,” he said.
Mr Harper praised the young baristas at the coffee shop who are on course to graduate with a Certificate 1 or 2 in Hospitality.
“What’s also great about this program is that it’s not a one-off –young graduates are offered ongoing mentoring and support until they turn 18,” he said.
The Project Booyah initiative is led by Queensland Police Service and dovetails in to the Queensland Government’s commitment to build a youth justice system that delivers real change, safer communities and positive futures.
Minister for Police Mark Ryan said the award winning program had received funding of $1.8 million from the 2019-20 State Budget.
“This program has a proven itself effective in making a real difference getting young people back into education and work and keeping young people out of detention,” he said.
“Through our Framing the Future plan we are investing in this community-based youth support and mentorship program in nine locations throughout Queensland.”
The Queensland Government is committed to changing the story for children and young people through the Working Together Changing the Story: Youth Justice Strategy 2019-2023 (the Strategy).
The Strategy provides a framework that will strengthen prevention, intervention, restoration and rehabilitation whilst considering the young person’s individual needs and circumstances.
The Strategy is supported by a $332.5 million investment in youth justice reforms and an Action Plan which is due for release in mid-2019.