You asked, we listened: new programs for 16-20s
When Andrew turned 18, he was as keen as ever to participate in supported recreation groups but his interests didn’t match typical adult programs.
So when he and his family heard that Gateways Support Services was starting two new recreation groups to help youths transition into adult programs, the Keilor East man was excited to get on board.
‘I found that when Andrew turned 18 all the activities he liked to do weren’t offered anymore as he was now too old. But going for a meal and drink at the pub is not something he is interested in at the moment,’ says Andrew’s mum, Joanne.
‘The Bridges program is perfect to fill the gap between youth and adult services.’
Starting in August with community-based activities in the inner west, the Bridges program caters for people aged 16-20 years with higher support needs, working with families to offer activities of interest to the group.
A second 16-20 year-old group, Connections, is geared towards more independent young people who will also have input in choosing their favourite activities as the program grows.
Gateways Support Services Recreation Coordinator, Mandy, says these new programs were developed following feedback from families about what would work best for their children.
‘Many parents expressed concern around this transitionary period between youth and adulthood, where their children may not be ready to enter the open age group and wish to be among other people their own age with similar interests,’ Mandy says.
‘Bridges and Connections will meet these needs, with participants supported in building their independence skills while they are making friends and having a great time.’
Joanne says the program will help Andrew, who was previously an active youth group goer, to make a smoother transition into adulthood.
‘Bridges will help make the transition from youth to adult programs easier by providing activities that Andrew relates to and is actually interested in’, Joanne says.
‘Through the programs, I’m hoping for Andrew to be more social with his peers and to engage in activities in his community.’
Mandy says the groups are designed not only to meet the individual goals of participants’ NDIS plans, but to help the young people form strong friendships with their peers and the self-confidence to try new things.