Early risers earn program some extra cash
DESPITE the early starts, a police youth program in Coffs Harbour is generating some good results.
The Youth Active Rewards Program, run by NSW Police through the Coffs Harbour PCYC, engages at risk youth from around the local area and has been given an extra $2500 from the NSW Government.
The program is a unique blend of fitness, fun and positive engagement which has proven hugely successful.
As part of the Fit for Life program, Senior Constable Daniel Usher has seen the positive effects the initiative has had on the kids, whose active participation is rewarded with outings to places like Treetops Coffs Harbour.
The program has been especially successful in building positive relationships between the police and young people while reducing the instance of youth crime.
Mr Usher said seeing the kids develop as they engaged with the program was particularly pleasing.
“It is one of the very rewarding aspects of this sort of policework,” Mr Usher said.
“Working with young people is something we enjoy and it’s a privilege to work with these kids.”
And in a testament to its popularity, the kids are willing to get up at all hours to make it to the morning sessions.
“Initially we were surprised at how well they were ready to get up so early in the morning, given we are knocking on some doors at around 6.30am,” he said.
“They have responded really well and they take that responsibility in their stride.”
Police Minister David Elliot and Coffs Harbour MP Gurmesh Singh were on hand to officially announce the funding and Mr Elliot said he was pleased to be able to offer the grant to the grassroots initiative.
“This program has been effective in breaking the cycle of disadvantage and creating a safer community,” he said.
“YARP provides opportunities for youth to gain experiences that may otherwise not have been available to them.
“Every child deserves the opportunity to thrive and to be given a chance to reach their full potential.”
Mr Singh said the program was crucial to guiding the regions youth through the many challenges of teenage life, and to “see them come out the other end with a bright future ahead”.