At the Y, we're empowering young people - giving them the skills and confidence to lead positive and independent lives. We want young people to have more agency, improve their mental health, increase employability skills, and shape their future through the Y.

We're achieving these priorities through Youth Services, who work with over 8,000 young people every year.

Here's how some of our programs impact young people:

Having more agency

Through Youth Parliament, over 30 bills proposed have passed into state legislation in Victoria, including:

  • Roadside drug testing for drivers
  • Over the counter availability of the morning after pill
  • Mandatory wearing of a bicycle helmet
  • Removal of glass from identified high-risk entertainment venues
  • Gun reformation laws

The Youth Parliament is a fantastic example of young people's voices having an impact and making real change in society.

Improving mental health

Peninsula Youth Services runs successful mindfulness, yoga, reiki, acupuncture, ZEN workshops and sessions at their centre to help carers and parents of young people. Participants learn how to work with young people who have anxious and aggressive behaviours to regulate their emotions  so that they can be successful at school, home, work and in the community. They also run a visiting practitioner's program which offers young people an opportunity to engage in complementary therapies free of charge, as part of a holistic wellness plan.

Creating social impact

Increasing employability skills

Saute is a young man who had previously been involved with the criminal justice system. Despite his past, Saute was given the opportunity to get involved with the YMCA Bridge Project. The program provides support, training, mentoring and employment opportunities for young ex-offenders who are at risk of being caught up in a recurring cycle of crime and imprisonment.

Following his completion of the program, Saute is now employed at YMCA ReBuild as a crew leader and is relishing the opportunity to give back by providing the same kind of support and mentorship he was given not too long ago.

At the 2018 YMCA Bridge Project Breakfast, Saute braved the stage in front of over 400 people to share his story about how YMCA Youth Services has impacted his life.

He got a standing ovation.

I didn’t think my story would have that much of an impact. It wasn’t until the end, when I got a standing ovation, that it hit me that people were really listening and they took it to heart.Saute, Crew Leader of YMCA ReBuild

You can listen to Saute's story in the first episode of the Time to ReBuild podcast, 'Taking control of the ship'.

Shaping young people's future

YMCA Bridge Project works with young people who have been involved with the criminal justice system to get their life back on track. In July 2017, there were over 850 young adults (under 25) in prison in Victoria, and over 2,200 in community corrections.

Between October 2015 and June 2017, YMCA Bridge Project supported:

  • 484 young adult offenders to complete an eight day work and life skills training course, as well as 138 young adult offenders to secure vocational placements
  • 84% of all of them were offered paid employment once their placement ended
  • 98% of the young adult offenders who undertook vocational placements over a three-month period did not reoffend in 2015-2017 - this translates to a 2% reoffending rate compared to 43% of Victoria’s prisoners who return to prison under sentence within two years.

We are there for every young person in the community, supporting them through difficult times.


Learn more about our programs