People and Places
30/07/2021
The foundation of youth
by Mornington Peninsula Magazine

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Sometimes when tragedy happens, the right support can mean that healing and growth follow for individuals and communities. This is true of the story behind YMCA Peninsula Youth Service’s new home at Jimmy’s Wellbeing Sanctuary in Rosebud that opened in July.

The collaboration between YPYS and Jimmy’s Foundation – the organisation that funded building Jimmy’s Wellbeing Sanctuary – came about through the connection of two Peninsula women, Sarah Darling and Jeanette Horsley. Both women have been committed advocates of youth mental health and well-being for more than a decade on the Peninsula, Sarah through her philanthropic work and Jeanette as manager of YPYS.

Sarah’s commitment to this work was deepened by the loss of her 33-year-old son James Crawford – known as Jimmy to his family and friends. Jimmy’s Foundation was set up by Sarah and her daughter to honour James’s life, and in doing so the lives of other young people are being enriched with opportunities for healing and growth that they may otherwise not have access to.

Securing a permanent and welcoming space to offer YPYS programs that support and nurture young people’s well-being was a long-held dream for Jeanette. Jimmy’s Foundation made this possible. The ultimate aim of YPYS is to engage young people for the long term, not just for one-off programs, and having a permanent space makes this more achievable. Some of the programs offered include a five-day teenage girls’ retreat, barista training for employment pathways, weekly yoga, mindfulness practices, cooking classes, mental health first aid courses, and workshops for parents.

Jeanette is a passionate mental health educator and has worked with young people for more than two decades. Her approach is inclusive and holistic. “We have ongoing offerings to the community for young people and for adults because part of our philosophy is to help create inter-generational change. We have visiting practitioners – naturopath, acupuncturist, reiki master; their services are free of charge to young people, and adults pay a discounted amount. This is a significant part of our approach to wellness that we can offer these services that are cost-prohibitive for a lot of people.”

Jeanette’s vision for YPYS participants and team members is simple: provide the best possible environment and support to help people become the very best they can be. Our circumstances don’t have to define us. For southern Peninsula young people who’ve been dealt a rough start in life or wandered off track, there is support and opportunity available.

Thanks to Jimmy’s Foundation, the building is paid for and YPYS can operate rent-free, but ongoing program costs rely on partnerships and donations. If you’d like to get involved as a volunteer or to donate, contact Jeanette on 0448 916 724 or email Jeanette.Horsley@ymca.org.au; to keep up to date with programs on offer, follow YPYS on Instagram @ymcapeninsulayouthservices; and to learn more about Jimmy’s Foundation, visit www.jimmy.org.au

NIKKI FISHER

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