Our Services / Positive Futures
“We have witnessed significant change within young people who have participated in the program.”
-Ben Vevers, Principal, Rangebank Primary School
ABOUT POSITIVE FUTURES
Positive Futures re-engages young people who have already, or are at risk of, disengaging from their education, family and the broader community. The program is designed to complement school initiatives.
The program is founded on our EMBRACE philosophy which enables young people to discover their personal values and develop a deeper understanding of their potential and opportunities.
Positive Futures embeds trained youth workers in schools to deliver a personal development program to a broad range of students, while also providing intensive case management to students who need it most. The youth workers are employees of the Les Twentyman Foundation.
This program is funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services.
WHAT DOES THE PROGRAM OFFER?
Early intervention strategies are used in a one-on-one, group workshop and outreach capacity to strengthen young people’s confidence, resilience and improve their emotional regulation:
- One on one support
Tailored one on one support is strengths focussed, where youth workers and young people work together to achieve goals and problem solve. Youth workers also offer support, guidance and advocacy within the schools to staff, providing insights into young people’s lives and specific needs for learning.
- Group work
Group work provides an experiential learning platform, where social skills are taught in non-intimidating environment. Tasks are often hands on, so young people can focus on something other than their social anxieties, building confidence and resilience along the way which is transferred into the classroom over time. In addition to the ‘soft skills’, young people are equipped with workplace skills, ensuring they have the tools to gain meaningful employment.
Outreach provides a unique access point that schools often can’t provide. Our Youth Workers meet young people on their ‘turf’, where they feel comfortable, fostering stronger engagement. Family support is also provided in the home, removing the ‘authoritative’ notion of meeting on school grounds.
WHAT IS THE ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA?
In its second year, the ‘Positive Futures’ program is currently funded to be delivered in the following schools:
- Berwick Secondary College
- Cheltenham Secondary College
- Pakenham Secondary College
Students are usually referred to the program from the school’s wellbeing team.
We are seeking government funding to expand this program, but some schools have also taken this up on a fee-for-service basis including Rangebank Primary School.
We would welcome enquiries from schools about the Positive Futures model and whether it could be of value to your school community. Please contact our office on 03 9689 4800 or email [email protected]
This ground-breaking pilot program commenced in 2018, with a mid-term evaluation conducted by leading social impact agency, ThinkImpact. In the three secondary schools and one primary school where Positive Futures has been operating, students report an improvement of immediate crisis, increased knowledge and access to information, improved aspirations for employment and education, improved personal and family safety and increased school attendance. Students also tell us that their behaviour has improved and without the program they would have left school or been expelled.
Specifically, the evaluation reports that:
- 90% of students say they have someone they can turn to for help
- 90% of students feel more confident that they can reach their goals in life
- 100% of students believe that they are more likely to finish school
- 60% decrease in absenteeism among students participating
During 2019-20, there were more than 1400 sessions recorded to a total of 136 clients. In addition, during the period our youth workers engaged on an ad hoc basis with approximately 60 additional students.