Kids off the kerb

17 October 2018

Jayson Forrest

Jayson Forrest is the managing editor of Money & Life Magazine.

Troy Rosenlis AFP® is seeing the positive benefits that education, work experience and training is having in breaking the cycles of dependency for disadvantaged youth in Melbourne.

Grant recipient: Kids Off The Kerb

Grant amount: $8,000

Endorsed by: Troy Rosenlis AFP®

FPA Chapter: Melbourne

With a five year involvement with Melbourne-based not-for-profit, Kids Off The Kerb, Troy Rosenlis AFP® didn’t have to think twice about endorsing this organisation for a 2017 Make the Difference! Grant, as he believed the grant aligned with mission statement of the charity: ‘supporting disadvantaged youth in our local communities’.

 Kids Off The Kerb assists disadvantaged and at-risk youth by providing projects that use environmental and recycling initiatives to create sustainable education, training and employment opportunities for young people. Through these projects, youth are given work experience and training opportunities, which provides a pathway into paid employment.

 “I have personally been involved with Kids Off The Kerb for five years,” says Troy. “Over this time, I have seen the positive impact the group has made on the lives of many disadvantaged youth. There are so many good news stories of young adults either progressing to gainful employment through the skills they had learnt, or others who have started their own initiatives with the support of Kids Off the Kerb.”

 Troy initially became involved with Kids Off The Kerb by offering a “helping hand” to arrange a shoe collection for one of the first ‘In Your Shoes’ campaigns by the organisation.

 “Since then I have continued to volunteer my time to assist with fundraising and idea generation to help sustain this charity into the future,” he says.

Flipin-it project

The Flipin-it project, for which Kids Off the Kerb received an $8,000 Future2 grant, seeks to expand the organisation’s recycling program by selling refurbished and recycled goods online and through an onsite shop run by young people.

“This project will develop and promote more skills and job opportunities for the participants, including digital marketing, business operations and product photography,” says Kids Off The Kerb founder and director, Nathan Stirling.  

“Flipin-it is a digitally enabled enterprise that creates sustainable jobs and employment pathways for disadvantaged young people through: receiving recyclable goods as a donation or on consignment for sale; refurbishing, repurposing or recycling these goods ready for sale or alternate use; selling or reselling these goods; and investing the profits in Kids Off The Kerb social enterprises and youth support services.”

Funds to benefit others

Nathan estimates that an additional 80 young people will benefit from the Future2 grant.

“We focus on youth in the northern suburbs of Melbourne who are facing rates of unemployment well in excess of 20 per cent. Many of the young people that Kids Off The Kerb supports are from backgrounds of generational unemployment and who are dependent on welfare.

“Many have experienced homelessness and suffer from a range of health issues. They may also have a history of excessive drug and alcohol use, self-harm and anti-social behaviour. Often they have a background of family dislocation, neglect and/or abuse,” he says.

“When combined with low levels of educational attainment, language, literacy and numeric proficiency, this cohort of young people are at increased risk of falling victim to drug and alcohol abuse, mental health issues, crime and incarceration.

“Kids Off The Kerb believes that education, work experience and training activity has the power to break these negative cycles and transform lives. Our aim is to offer the skills and support required to effect positive change in this group of socially disadvantaged young people by helping up-skill them and assisting them to attain proper education in order for them to secure employment.”

Nathan believes employment is crucial because it provides young people with the essential income and self-respect they need, as well as giving them a sense of personal and social identity, as well as inclusion in the wider community.

Positive impacts

In addition to the longstanding recycling programs that Kids Off The Kerb provides, Troy says the organisation has also been expanding its range of activities, which includes a community hub and café in the Melbourne suburb of Ivanhoe, where disadvantaged youth can learn a range of hospitality skills.

“I have seen the positive impacts on the people working in the café and believe any extra support we can give them, would be greatly received,” Troy says.

“Programs like Flipin-it are providing real world work experience and the opportunity for young people, who have the right work ethic and ‘can do’ attitude, to gain secure paid employment.”

You may also be interested in