Eternity Aid has not by-passed the Taree community. The Taree Project aims at addressing rates of youth incarceration. Following the success of our programs in Bourke, we have identified Taree and its high rates of youth in custody, as the focus of this project. The work also aims to help all children and young people build their own resources so that they can have the ability to excel in education and life.
Our project identifies two key transition periods in the lives of young people and focuses on achieving improved health, education and well-being for young people in Taree. Our passion is to see a reduction in the incidence of juvenile incarceration and to see “kids doing well”.
Eternity Aid delivers a transition to high school program that revolves around four annual visits. One each school term with interim support via smaller team visits and other forms of communication. The value of these visits is that it creates an independence mentality among young people and adults rather than creating a dependency. Rural towns can lack services and motivation whereas regular visits from our team stimulates activity and interest in children, families and service providers as they feel something new and helpful is coming.
One story we would like to share with you in particular is of a boy. He goes to the local public school. When we first met this boy and his class, the children introduced themselves by saying their name. When it got to this boy, he introduced himself as “Hi, I’m angry”. It really impacted us. Here was a boy who did not identify with being just him. He identified with labels being placed on him by others. We began to establish a relationship with this boy through our regular school visits and also seeing our visiting psychologist at other times in the year. With this support he became engaged and reflective.
One of the last times we visited, he came and sat down next to us, calmly and quietly. He introduced himself. He said “Hi, I’m Steven”. Steven had found his identity. Our school facilitators continue working with him to build his resilience and social skills to ensure Steven is able to build healthy and stable relationships and a personal identity.
Eternity Aid wish to thank the James N. Kirby Foundation for supporting us in helping these young people to make positive changes to their lives and providing the Taree community with the support they need.