Mobile Youth Van, an educational and community outreach program run by Save the Children Fund that includes creative workshops in music, is expanding into Queensland.
MY Van began in New South Wales in 2012 with the aim of supporting young people in disadvantaged and marginalised communities where physical and mental health issues, substance abuse and violence are a major entrenched problem. So far, it has been serving the Sydney suburbs of Claymore, Glebe and Woolloomooloo, sending out vans equipped with tablets, laptops and digital music equipment on a regular weekly basis. These mobile classrooms have also visited outback locations including Wilcannia in the state’s north west.
In November, MY Van hopes to replicate its success by offering a similar program of activities in sport, music and other creative arts to at-risk children in Brisbane.
“We will use creative workshops and health promotion to drive pro-social behaviour and also offer them refuge from adversity or often in-stability in their lives,” Queensland manager of Save the Children Australia, Jason Ware, told local media.
The Queensland MY Van program launches on October 18 at Yeronga High School.
Save the Children Fund describes MY Van as “an innovative education and child protection program” that operates out of community and youth centres, schools and parks. It is “as an alternative classroom during the day, and as an engagement service that gets young people off the streets and reduces anti-social behaviour at night”.
Youth workers with expertise in digital media and music facilitation direct MY Van’s projects in rapping and beatboxing, amongst other creative areas.
A study conducted by researchers at Western Sydney University in 2016 found that MY Van has made a positive impact on some of Sydney’s most socially stressed communities. It observed an increase in young peoples’ confidence and their participation level in the creative projects being offered.