Carinity supporting young people to re-engage with learning

Disengaged and at-risk youth in the Moreton Bay area are receiving a second chance at education thanks to a local church endeavour supported by Carinity.

Rivers Youth Versatile Education and Training School (RYVETS) is a flexi-school for young people who are at-risk of offending, or who have disengaged from mainstream schooling.

A proactive program for youths aged 12 to 14 years, it is run as a partnership between Rivers Baptist Church, Queensland Police Service and Dakabin, Pine Rivers and Bray Park State High Schools.

Rivers Baptist Church Pastor, Shane Greenhalgh, with church staff and RYVETS staff
Rivers Baptist Church Pastor, Shane Greenhalgh, with church staff and teachers who deliver the church’s Rivers Youth Versatile Education and Training School, a flexi-school for local youth.

“The partnership began through our church’s connections with one of the local high schools who had the vision for the flexi-school,” said Rivers Baptist Church Pastor, Shane Greenhalgh.

“Our church recognised the great need for vulnerable youth in our neighbourhood to be empowered through having a second chance at education.”

The flexi-school runs in the Lawnton-based church’s youth space, with Education Queensland staff and up to 15 students participating each day.

“Many of the students who have been through the program or who are currently enrolled have experienced childhood trauma,” Shane said.

“Without an education, they become vulnerable to criminal activity or poverty as they transition into their adult years.”

“We’ve already seen two cohorts of students successfully re-engage with their education through RYVETS.

“They have subsequently moved onto vocational pathways or continued in their education either at a mainstream high school or at the Salvation Army flexi-school school for Years 10-12 students, which is just down the road.”

RYVETS - Program Launch
Students, teachers and community stakeholders pictured together at the launch of the Rivers Youth Versatile Education and Training School.

Funding from Carinity’s Collaborative Community Projects has allowed the education program, which has been running since late-2021, to expand its support for young people.

This has included supporting social and emotional programs for RYVETS participants and running a Red Frogs Board Riders community event at a local skate park, hosted by students.

“Significantly, Carinity’s funding has allowed for the inclusion of a meal program so that each student at RYVETS receives a free breakfast, morning tea and lunch each day,” Shane said.

“The addition of the food program has been essential as it has removed one of the significant barriers to school attendance that at-risk youth experience.”

Carinity’s Collaborative Community Projects supports church-run programs designed to strengthen neighbourhoods, promote connectivity for vulnerable people, and assist them to reach their full potential.

“We are so grateful for the Collaborative Community Projects funding through Carinity,” Shane said.

“It has equipped us to partner with other organisations in our area, to alleviate poverty, empower vulnerable youth and their families and help the students and staff experience the closeness of the Kingdom of God in their lives.”

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