Reach is a very cool organisation that aims to improve the wellbeing of young people and help them achieve their full potential. Reach is a place where teenagers can get together and talk openly and honestly about the struggles they face surrounding issues such as - mental health problems, stress, school and study challenges, and relationship difficulties. Each year 30,000 young people go though the workshops led by the young Reach crew that aims to allow teenagers to explore their lives and connect with other people they can relate to. We’re stoked to have given Reach 25 cushions to use for their silent auction and decorate their crew room. That’s the kind of crew room we’d like to kick back in!
Your workshops are a place where young people can truly be themselves & don’t have to worry about being judged... can you tell me more about why you made the decision to ensure that young people actually run your workshops…
Young people are often saturated with people significantly older than them telling them what to do, where to be, how to live. While it’s all valid and valuable we feel that it can sometimes be hard for them to connect someone who doesn’t seem that close to what they’re going through. That’s why our facilitators are all so young; they’ve just navigated those bizarre and complicated teenage years themselves and they get what’s going on. We also believe that if the young people can see OUR young people up there doing their thing and talking about living out their passions, it makes it seem so much more accessible for those in our workshop.
You offer several types of workshops, all tailored to different age groups, there are even workshops for adults & parents…could you tell me about one of your favourite workshops & tell us a bit about your Theory of Change?
Personally, my favourite is Fused. Fused is for 13-17 year olds from any circumstance to come and talk about the things that they wouldn’t normally get to in their ordinary world. The program runs every school term for 4 weeks, and the workshops are specifically tailored each week for the group depending on what their needs are. Best of all, it’s created entirely by our crew. It is the most creatively stimulating thing to run; you can take risks, try new things and push the boundaries a bit. The length of the program also allows you to be able to take time to get to know and build rapport with the kids and get to witness some genuinely incredible change in them.
The theory of change is a process we’ve constructed to try and give a tangible structure around the way our workshops play out. We always say our work is best experienced, but if anyone is interested in understanding a bit more of our theory they can check out the document here: http://www.reach.org.au/media/144789/Reachs-Theory-of-Change.pdf
It has been said that a Reach event is not your average ho-hum fundraiser, that your unique events make people think, laugh & sometimes cry...you have some incredible events coming up, could you tell me a bit about the Larapinta Trek & Camp Maasai…
Reach fundraising is truly authentic and encourages people to celebrate and participate in our work- from developing more of an appreciation for themselves, to seeing a very raw insight into others and this means people walk away with a whole range of emotions- and through that response we are able to demonstrate our impact.
Larapinta is one of the most incredible adventures, that has fundraisers challenging themselves not only to raise $4,000 but to take on the physical challenge of the Larapinta Trail just out of Alice Springs. The trekkers are able to experience the beautiful country, take the time to reflect and connect with others and to know that their experience is supporting young people. We asked our 2015 trekkers to summarise in 3 words “Majestic, inspiring, challenging” was one response. We are currently seeking 2016 adventurers- more information is available on the website.
Camp Maasai is a truly immersive experience that unites young people and adults in what we describe as a ‘special world’. 20 young participants and 20 adults are taken away and invited to learn from each others journeys in a positive and supportive environment. In just 3 days, lives and perceptions are changed, challenged and enhanced as the group of people from so many walks of life connected on their shared experiences and their unique potential. A must!
How can people get involved with Reach?
In so many different ways! For those under 18 there are many programs available and the opportunity to become one of our ‘crew’ the young leaders who run the work. See all the opportunities here.
You can volunteer with us, attend one of our exciting events, fundraise- any or all of these will allow you to engage with the work as well as help further our abilities to improve the wellbeing of young Australians.
We have the most incredible people who come to Reach, support us, work here and advocate for us and we are very welcoming, so if you’re interested we’ll find the right fit.
What does the future hold for Reach?
Exciting things! We have more young people, a more holistic approach to creating consistency with our programs, we have just launched our own festival in collaboration with Moonee Valley Racecourse- Moonee Tunes. We celebrated 21 years in 2015, now it’s time for us to step into adulthood and focus on our growth.
Quote to live by…
We have this quote in the entry to our Collingwood Dream Factory- we all walk past it every day and it is the absolute underpinnings of the organisation:
“I truly believe that every person, especially young people, have unlimited potential and that we all have a unique ‘voice’ which wants to be heard. Deep down, behind all the bullshit, we just want to be ourselves and when young people are given the opportunity to express their real selves they can achieve whatever they want and they can have all the love, happiness and success they require. Very often this process starts simply by someone believing in them” – Jim Stynes