A community service organisation is on a mission to help at-risk teens learn vital literacy and numeracy skills through its support of a local youth program.
Over the coming months Suncare will donate laptops to Teens Take Control (TCC), a Maroochydore youth-based charity that connects participants to the community through a range of programs.
The laptops will help program participants better their skills to become workplace ready.
Suncare information communication technology officer Mauricio Galleguillos says when the team heard about the work TTC does, the organisation knew it wanted to do something to help. “We thought what better use for our decommissioned laptops than to have them refurbished and donated to Teens Take Control,” he says.
“We have donated 10 laptops so far and will continue to do so, when we are able to.”
This incredible community generosity comes as the federal government recently committed $1.48 million in funding to help boost the program.
TTC head of support and education Asha Lumsden says the 12-month course focuses on youth developing crucial life, educational and workplace skills. She says with local youth crime rates at a high, it is critical to re-engage Sunshine Coast teens and give them the best head start possible.
“At the moment youth are responsible for 34 per cent of crimes recorded on the Sunshine Coast, which is up from 27 per cent in 2019,” Ms Lumsden says.
“Our goal is to see that figure substantially reduced and with the help of originations such as Suncare, we’re confident it will become a reality.
“As demand for the program continues to grow, we have many things on the list of required resources, so we are always grateful for any contribution given to Teens Take Control.”
TTC president Brenden Wilkins understands the challenges of adolescence and the power of second chances after turning his own life around years ago.
Mr Wilkins left a life of crime behind him in Sydney to turn a new leaf on the Sunshine Coast for his young daughters, which was the motivation for launching TTC. In the past 10 years he has invested his own money, time and resources into the project and is thrilled with the continued community support and positive outcomes for the teens.
“With little resources we’ve helped countless kids stay in school, stay out of youth justice, learn skills and find careers,” he says. “We get visits and messages from past students all the time thanking us and telling us how well they are now doing, and this is what keeps us going.
“From the streets and the courtroom to a career and successful life is our goal, and with this funding we can deliver everything we’ve dreamed about to help our young people break the cycle.”
TTC participant Dakoda was 15 when she first joined the program. “I’ve been a part of the TTC family for more than two years now and they have given me the support, education and resources I need to find my way,” she says.
“Once I turn 18, I hope to get a full-time job at the mines so I can start saving to buy my own house.”