The After Dark program run by Glebe Youth Service will continue with additional funding from the City of Sydney.
The $400,000 injection allows the activity program for 12 to 24 year olds in the Glebe area to run for another two and a half years. Glebe Youth Service Coordinator Keiran Kevans said: “We are really grateful and appreciative to City of Sydney for providing this funding.”
Held every Friday and Saturday night, Dark Hour is designed to divert young people from drinking and taking part in other antisocial behaviours at nighttime. Activities range from sport and recreation to film, music, graphic arts and jewellery making. Life skill programs are also offered to instill a sense of empowerment and independence. These include lessons on how to shop and cook on a budget or vocational and training workshops.
Apart from providing a safe and productive way to spend Friday and Saturday nights, Mr Kevans said: “It’s also a way to get the kids to know youth workers and to build a trusting relationship with an adult. That’s an opportunity that they would normally get.”
Programs like Dark Hour aim to break the cycle of disadvantage for troubled youths. “I think what we do see is a group of young people who are very talented, very motivated, very interested in things, but perhaps they lack the financial resources or the social and situational opportunities to progress and learn in their areas of interest,” Mr Kevans said. “We hope that we can find out what those interests are. Then resource, support and connect them with people who can provide further opportunities for these young people.”
Twenty Three-year-old Vincent West has been attending Glebe Youth Services since he was 13. It helped him discover and cultivate his musical talents. Mr West now volunteers for the organisation.
His musical ability was put on show when he performed at last Saturday night’s Dark Hour. “Before After Dark started we used to walk around the streets until the middle of the night. I used to get harassed by the cops on the streets or by someone in the community,” Mr West said. “I would come in here and ask Keiran and some of the other youth workers for advice on how to calm the situation. “Ever since After Dark started we now have somewhere to go instead of walking around the streets looking for trouble. It gives kids more confidence.”
With a successful Hip Hop group comprised of Indigenous youth called ‘Sk8 Ballaz’ in tow, Mr West is an example of what the youth service can achieve.