5 Jul | '2024

For many young people, traditional education just doesn’t fit. As a result, they become disengaged and sometimes lost. In June I had the great privilege to visit Everything Suarve, or Esuarve, an organisation that offers alternative learning through a 10-week big-brother program for youths aged 16 to 24, with my gold coast colleagues my very good friends the member for Fadden, who’s here in the chamber, and the member for Forde. It was truly one of the more emotional and moving youth visits that I have experienced. Surrounded by genuine love and support, Esuarve programs target disengaged youth to give them a sense of belonging and purpose while they work through their trauma and reconnect with their community. Esuarve founder Joseph Te Puni-Fromont established the organisation in 2020 to offer young people life skills, development, education and employment pathways, and over 230 young men and women have participated, of which 90 per cent—a very high rate—have found employment and been reintegrated with society as a result of the programs.

During the visit, we were welcomed into their inner sanctum to witness the group of young men and women receive their light-green T-shirt and wear it as a badge of honour for those young people that have gone through the program. It signifies their completion and also joining the Esuarve family for life. After that point, they belong at Esuarve forever.

These sorts of learning models are on the rise because they are proven to work and have such a profound impact on the lives of young people. Another organisation is BUSY Girls+ in Southport, an example of an alternative education setting for students who don’t fit that traditional model. I was also very grateful to join the BUSY team along with state member for Southport Rob Molhoek for the official opening of the newest campus. BUSY Girls+ provides an alternative approach that has already supported hundreds of young people to regain their confidence, graduate with their Queensland certificate of education and start a career path. With limited student numbers, smaller classroom sizes and individualised learning, the Southport campus provides young women with an opportunity to re-engage with their education in a more supportive environment. BUSY Schools are part of the BUSY Group, a not-for-profit organisation that delivers a range of employment services, apprenticeship support and vocational skills training across Australia. BUSY is an acronym for Backing Unemployed Southport Youth. It was founded by a Gold Coaster, Martin Punch, over 45 years ago with the goal to change the lives of homeless and young people on the Gold Coast.

I look forward to seeing these two organisations grow to support thousands more Gold Coasters who need that extra help and support. Well done to those two schools.

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