Monday, 12 December 2022

Welcome to Government House for this reception to thank supporters of Youth Opportunities.

Rod and I are very pleased to be co-patrons of Youth Opportunities and it’s wonderful to host your community here this evening.

In our first year at Government House, we have felt privileged to spend time with community organisations supporting disadvantaged South Australians, getting to know their staff, supporters, volunteers and clients.

What we have seen, time and time again, is the importance of breaking the cycle of poverty and disadvantage, and just how challenging it can be to do this.

By supporting young people to develop life skills and leadership capability, Youth Opportunities provides the tools for them to start writing a new story themselves, their families and their communities.

Twenty-five years ago your founder, Peter Marshmann, who is with us this evening, organised the very first Youth Opportunities school program.

No doubt he is proud of the way the organisation has gone from strength to strength.

To date, 15,000 young people have graduated from your flagship Personal Leadership program, building better habits and taking control of their futures.

In 2021, more than 4500 young people took part in a Youth Opportunities activity.

It’s great to see this large number of young people developing the skills of resilience, persistence and positivity.

Living through the pandemic, watching their families struggle with the cost of living, facing bushfires, floods and the uncertainty of climate change, are all taking their toll on young people.

The right skill set will assist them to navigate difficult times, and also make the most of opportunities when they come along.

Last year, you achieved a 28 percent reduction in the number of students at high risk of developing a mental health disorder, following training with Youth Opportunities.

84 percent of your graduates reported they knew what to do to achieve their goals, 92 percent reported higher confidence and 88 percent reported improved self-esteem.

These are exceptional results and I congratulate Youth Opportunities on its overwhelmingly positive impact on program participants.

I am very pleased that, in 2022, you expanded to become a national organisation, and next year will be piloting programs and services across several states with the assistance of Federal Government funding.

I wish you every success as you bring your important work to even greater numbers of young people.

Friends,

The sustained success of Youth Opportunities is testament to the vision and dedication of your Board and staff.

It’s also a reflection of the commitment and generosity of your volunteers, and your many individual and corporate supporters.

I congratulate you all on the 25th anniversary of Youth Opportunities in 2022, and thank you for your commitment to helping disadvantaged young people reach their potential.

You are contributing to making South Australia a fairer, more compassionate and ultimately more prosperous state, in which we can all be proud to live.