I see so much love in the world, but I also see so much sadness and sorrow. Warrnambool is such as wonderful place, yet there are underlying issues with our youth: broken families, drugs, alchohol, violence, abuse, and neglect. The list goes on. So many of our youth needing help, but so often the resources cannot cope. Are we failing the youth of our city?
I have three kids and I am scared. I am scared of what the future holds, but excited at the same time. The future is incredibly bright for the fortunate ones who make it through the teenage years without being too “messed up”. But what about the ones we leave behind? Are we forgetting the ones who got caught up with the wrong crowd, are victims of abuse, or just simply couldn’t find a way to fit in?
WARRNAMBOOL YOUTH STATISTICS
The following table is taken from the WCC Health and Wellbeing report 2013:
Have a look at the following graph. Why is our teenage birth rate so high?
There are many other statistics that I have not published here in relation to drugs and alchohol, gambling and suicide. These statistics do not paint a rosy picture for our city. Obviously our youth are in need of desperate help.
Have a look below at the high school retention rates by comparison to the state average:
Below is data on our youth unemployment rate (school counts as employment):
Why is Warrnambool so far behind the state average on many youth statistics? What is being done? What do we need to do?
WHAT IS BEING DONE?
It is very encouraging that the “Prevention is Possible” program has been produced. What a wonderful initative! This program is coordinated by Brophy Family and Youth Services for Communities That Care Warrnambool. Just click on the pic below to view the entire document:
“Communities That Care Warrnambool aims to improve education attainment and the healthy development of children and young people and prevent antisocial behaviour, alcohol and drug use. “
Addressing the youth issues in our city is such an enormous task. But I am mighty glad that there are groups in our community giving it a go.
MY VIEW – This is important – please read
Our youth need our help. To address the issue we need to bring about cultural change. We need to improve education in life issues – issues that will really make a difference. We need to better address mental health and not let those affected face the world alone. Our youth need improved social service resources. Our youth need to feel confident that no problem is too small, and they will be able to see a counsellor when they are in need. We need to inspire our youth. We need to provide them with hope and opportunity – including adequate job prospects. We need to better cater for them in our community and give them a strong sense of inclusion. We need to encourage them to contribute, and give them some ownership. Our youth need to feel valued by our community. Our youth need to know they belong – they are not forgotten. Our youth need a reason to instigate generational change – to break the cycle of domestic violence, abuse, and drugs. That reason is their sense of hope, opportunity, belonging, and value. These are the real things we need to fix. These are the things that will shape the future of our community.
My pledge is to the youth of Warrnambool. I have children. I therefore have a vested interest.
I will advocate passionately for youth issues including:
- Youth services
- Improved counselling resources
- Mental health
- Youth inclusion