by Grant J Everett
The Kool Kids Club is a social group funded by Weave Youth & Community Services for at-risk children who live in La Perouse and surrounding suburbs. The Club provides FREE after school programs for kids aged between 7 and 12, and some of the activities on offer include surfing, dancing, short film projects, music workshops, sports, arts, cooking and photography.
But the Kool Kids Club isn’t just a social group: dedicated staff and mentors work hard to actively build on the existing life skills of their young participants, teaching them how to be self-sufficient and resilient to all of life’s many challenges without having to rely on crutches such as drugs, alcohol abuse and crime. Keenan Mundine is just one of the Aboriginal mentors dedicated to “smoothing the path” by setting a good example of what a normal, healthy lifestyle really is (more on Keenan in a bit).
Proven to work
The Kool Kids Club is a highly effective program with proven results. 90% of the kids who take part in KKC have at least one parent in jail and 85% of the kids identify as Aboriginal, which means quite a few of them might fit within the “at risk” category. In the 15 years Kool Kids Club has been running, not one of the participants has ended up in juvenile detention. It costs approximately $235,000 to detain one young person in Juvenile Detention per year. Kool Kids Club supports over 160 kids a year at a cost of $270,000 per annum. The numbers speak for themselves.
Of course, this is about more than numbers on a piece of paper: it’s about changing the destiny of these tweens for the better, about providing them with the start to life that they need and deserve. After all, the two simple factors of getting a good education and not getting painted with the permanent mark of a criminal record will make all the difference in helping these kids break the cycle and reach their dreams.
Room to grow
Even though Kool Kids need to be aged between 7 and 12, that doesn’t mean they’re turfed out in the cold just because they’ve hit their teens. Kool Kids can transition into leadership roles and become a part of the Switch Leaders Program, which works with young people who are making the transition from primary school to high school (12 to 17). There’s also the opportunity to go through the Switch Leadership and Mentoring Program, which nurtures leadership qualities in young people, encourages them to take an active role in supporting their peers, and ensures that their education journey is a success.
Want to know more?
Want to get involved with Kool Kids Club and the Switch Leadership program in some way? Please note that potential Kool Kids have to be referred if they want to join. If you know somebody who would benefit from the Club, or you wish to volunteer your time to give our kids their best chance in life, Weave’s contact details are below.
(02) 9318 0539