Creative Youth Initiative, run by our partners at Mission Australia, is a unique service that runs free art and music courses for young people aged 16-25 years who are facing many and varied challenges in their lives. The program uses self-expression as a tool to develop creativity and self esteem.
Based in Surry Hills, near Sydney’s centre, Creative Youth Initiative (CYI) helps young people develop their creativity through visual arts and music. This in turn builds self-esteem, encourages self-expression and provides positive learning experiences in a safe and supportive environment. In addition, it provides young people with the opportunity to access free training programs run in partnership with TAFE as well as personalised individual support.
A Student Support Coordinator offers ongoing support and goal planning to students during their time in the program, as well as helps them find employment or enrol in further studies upon graduation. The Student Support Coordinator can also connect young people with other services such as suitable accommodation, drug support or counsellors as needed.
CYI consists of two semester-long programs run concurrently:
Artworks! is a TAFE Outreach-accredited visual arts program, which provides skilled one-on-one and group tuition in a safe place where young people can explore their creativity. The program enables students to work in a range of media including photography, painting, sketching, sculpture, printmaking and graphic design. The learning year culminates in the Artworks! Exhibition, which requires students to frame, price, and name their artwork, ready to display and sell.
Sounds of the Street
The Sounds of the Street program teaches participants to compose, perform and record music, and eventually produce professionally mixed and mastered CDs of their own songs. During the course they are encouraged to create songs, are introduced to music software and gain an understanding of the music industry. Students work both one-on-one and as a group, under the guidance of music tutors. The Sounds of the Street course is also run in partnership with TAFE.
Creative Youth Initiative harnesses the power of music and art to transform young lives. It provides learning opportunities in a safe, non-judgmental environment, free from abuse, drugs and violence. The program is unique in that it provides ongoing case management, while addressing the young person’s needs in areas such as education, mental health, safety, economic wellbeing and housing. It is this holistic approach of providing personalised support that makes the program such a success.
Surveys in previous years have recorded positive outcomes among students including improved self-esteem and confidence, re-engagement with the community, a reduction in substance abuse, improved social skills and an increased sense of belonging. Large numbers of students go on to further studies or seek employment.