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Youth Week Tasmania is an important event on our calendar that takes place each April to celebrate the young people in our community.

Each year the week provides a valuable opportunity for young people aged 12-25 years to express their views and ideas, showcase their talents and engage with their local communities.

The theme this year, chosen by young Tasmanians, was “Community Connection: Our Community, Our Voice”.

As a service provider for young people, we know firsthand how meaningful community connections and that feeling of belonging are to those in our care, helping them feel seen, included, connected and cared for.

This year, we were successful in obtaining a Youth Week Tasmania grant that provided us with some valued funding to deliver a Finding Connection through Street Art Project with residents staying with us at Mara House and Colville Place.

The aim of the grant was to help build the capacity of young people, providing practical skills and experiences that would help provide them with confidence and foundations for their future.

Being that we’re young at heart, we’ve also learnt through experience that participant engagement grows when you work as a team to co-design the offerings. So, our young residents at Mara and Colville met with rostered workers to put together a plan of attack.

The youth accommodation residents spoke about the project in their weekly meetings and were consulted at each stage of the design and delivery process. Joel was then responsible for sourcing materials, including items to upscale for sustainability which was a requirement of the grant. Joel selected donated and recycled pieces that would be great for these projects.

During Youth Week, we ran three workshops where residents made their own individual street art pieces with Joel assisting. Joel was amazing at engaging with the young people on the direction for their pieces, teaching them the techniques required along the way and allowing them full creative control regarding colours and materials.

When everyone had designed their own pieces, and after a well-deserved meal, the residents all came together as a group to decorate some large pot plant holders and create a large artwork piece to put on display. With these pieces, the group got to learn more spray-painting techniques and how to use stencils.

Watching the pure joy and amazement on the faces of young people creating these masterpieces was everything. Seeing what they could do and learn in a short time and their confidence grow through the session was what it was all about.

Some of the residents have even decorated their bedroom doors with the art they created! When asked what they thought of the sessions, the residents who participated said:

“I liked it a lot, I would do it again.”

“I really enjoyed doing the spray painting with Joel ☺️”

“It was actually really fun; the art looks cool.”

Allowing a creative outlet is an important step in providing an opportunity for young people to explore their experiences and emotions. This creative expression supports the development of their sense of self and worth. It also supports emotional regulation and can be a vital tool that young people continue to utilise as they navigate their inner and outer worlds.

Our Youth Housing Specialist, Rosie, was instrumental in obtaining the grant and arranging the workshops for the week.

“Having the opportunity to provide our young people with experiences that focus on thriving rather than surviving is so vital and empowering. These workshops allow space for connection, creativity, expression, community and acceptance.” Rosie said.

“It is such a privilege to work alongside young people and see their excitement, enthusiasm and joy when engaging in art and play, especially when life has demanded they grow up a bit too quickly. Big thanks to YNOT and the department for delivering this grant and supporting young people in our community.”

We also asked Joel from Create Crew for his thoughts on facilitating the workshops on site across youth week:

During the Colville Place and Mara House creative workshops we had a fantastic time creating lots of art with spray paint. Creating custom designs and following steps to achieve fantastic, completed artworks.

For myself, working with residents is very special because you need to encourage them, try to build rapport and trust quickly, and help them overcome any barriers or reservations.

Through the guided steps of creating our artworks you see that reservation turn into participation. Furthermore, this is not pressured as its driven by their interest realising that art can be fun and creativity can be achieved by anyone!

These experiences of working with the individuals or small groups from Mara and Colville were very special to me.

To see their faces with amazement when they had completed “A totally sick” art piece and something that they were then taking photos of and wanted to hang up on their wall really demonstrated the power of creativity! One of the participants was so excited to show a staff member their artwork and when asked how she did it she replied “magic!”. It was a very rewarding moment to be a part of.

For some, their attitudes towards participating were of caution or fear because often with something like this they might feel they will “Stuff it up!” or it’s something they can’t do.

But, when they realise, they can it really increases their positive energy and self-belief. Also, in most cases they want to do more without being asked!”

Thank you all involved in arranging these sessions, they were tremendously enjoyed!

This grant was proudly provided by The Minister for Education, Children and Youth and the Department of Premier and Cabinet, coordinated through Youth Network of Tasmania.

Find out more about us working with Joel from Create Crew

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