Jarrad’s storyWhen Jarrad first got involved with the Y more than six years ago, he was on a challenging and unknown path. Struggling both at school and after school, the teenager found himself wandering the streets.
But it all began to turn around when he decided to take a trip to his local Y-run youth centre, The Base @ Belmont, where with open arms the Y welcomed Jarrad into the service. The Base offered him access to a number of programs and activities he wouldn’t have been able to experience otherwise, including a six-day adventure camp at Margaret River that stands out as one of Jarrad’s favourite memories. His positive experiences with the Y also allowed Jarrad to discover his own natural abilities as a leader, and a true passion for volunteer work.
Now 21, Jarrad has thrown himself into his role as a Peer Mentor at the Base. “One of the things that I love about The Base is meeting new young people,” says Jarrad. “I’ve made lifelong friends in my own age group, and young kids sometimes see me on the street and feel comfortable coming up and saying hi.”
Jarrad has found that his age is an asset in his work. “The other youth workers are a bit older than me, so it might be challenging for young people to talk to them. When I joined I found it hard to talk to people that weren’t my age, and I think that’s why I stepped into the role – to help people out,” explains Jarrad.
Outside of his work, Jarrad and his younger brother both felt the impact of his involvement with the Y, when they were presented with an incident that required their CPR training they had learned at the Y, which they applied instinctively.
Through his work The Base, Jarrad has been able to help at-risk youth in his area choose a better path – a path that he himself very nearly missed. For Jarrad, the work that the Y does isn’t a nice-to-have, it’s a necessity. “It’s not just one little organisation and it’s not just yourself making a difference, everyone else can help too.”
The moment Jarrad found the Y, his life was changed forever. That moment is just one of millions that have been made possible by the Y, and just one of millions of lives that have been touched by their commitment to inspiring and empowering young people.