In attendance were representatives from the Ancient Church of the East, Light of Faith Youth Group of the Ancient Church Of The East, St. Peter and Paul Parish of the Assyrian Church of the East, Youth Association of the Assyrian Church Of The East, Assyrian Australian Association, The Assyrian Australian Academic Society, STARTTS and Mt. Druitt Ethnic Community Agency, as well as other youth leaders in our community. Although unable to attend on this occasion, representatives of the St. Toma Chaldean Church expressed their interest.
Each group had an opportunity to provide a brief presentation on the experiences and difficulties they have encountered with their connection to youth. A number of pertinent issues were also raised in regards to new arrivals and their transition into Australian society.
Major highlights of the meeting were:
- The youth vulnerability to crime,
- The need for development of various activities to engage young people,
- Supporting families and working with community organizations to assist with effective implementation of strategies.
- As a community, we have an obligation to help our youth rise above their problems, through the support of our churches and other social groups, utilizing the resources available within the community.
- The need for unity in thought and a commitment to act towards finding a resolution for the problems youth encounter.
- All groups agreed that they would commit to working on strategic planning, to be brought forward to the next Youth Leaders Meeting scheduled for 9 September 2006.
One of the main strengths of young leaders is their first-hand experience with youth issues. Their work in our churches and community organisations has provided resources and ministries that cater for the young people, which have witnessed lives changed from difficult and adverse circumstances. Mentioned in the meeting were examples of work already done by the youth groups, including street outreach to young people, educational support and mentoring, assisting young people involved in criminal proceedings and importantly, provision of spiritual guidance and social activities in safe and supervised settings. However, there was an acknowledgement that planning at a community level would be beneficial as strategies are diversified and groups draw on each other’s experience and community-wide resources.
This meeting was a positive step for our community to unite and work together for the sake of our youth.