In 2016, at just 16, Matthew Pace had dealt with family trauma, unstable accommodation and homelessness. With a determination to turn his life around, he reached out to Frankston Council Youth Services.
Matthew describes what was going on in his life at the time, saying: “I was being bullied at school, I didn’t have a permanent home and I didn’t feel like I belonged anywhere.”
However, since 2016 with regular visits to Youth Central and Frankston South hangout, he was able to change his path for the better. Both services gave Matthew the opportunity to play video games, make friends and access support services.
The youth team was able to assist Matthew to develop confidence and other skills that helped him find employment. He was also encouraged to sign up for the L2P driver training program, which allowed him to pass his driving test without difficulty.
After getting his licence, Matthew went on to find a job at Bay City Holden, where he continues to work. “This is the first job I have really felt comfortable in,” he says. “It gets me out of the house and I am now productive with my days. I am learning new things and the extra income means I have some opportunities when it comes to where I live.”
Empathising with youths going through the same challenges he has had to face, Matthew encourages young people to reach out to services that are there to assist them. “You will find something and there’s lots of support out there. You just have to ask for help.”
Frankston Mayor Sandra Mayer said: “Matthew’s efforts to improve his life are incredibly inspiring, and our programs are there to help others aged between 12 and 24 do the same.” Cr Mayer expressed her pride in the council’s Youth Services programs that are helping young people like Matthew reach their potential.
ERIN GROCOTT – Woodleigh Year 11 work experience student