Co-ordinator of the Resilient Youth program Coletee Tierney and Ben Riley from the NSW Department of Transport and Infrastructure with Keyarrah De Launey, Kristy Butts and Renee Churchill.
Co-ordinator of the Resilient Youth program Coletee Tierney and Ben Riley from the NSW Department of Transport and Infrastructure with Keyarrah De Launey, Kristy Butts and Renee Churchill.

Resilience drives youth

Keyarrah De Launey is a Year 12 student at Richmond River High and also works about 13 hours a week at a supermarket. She has been out of home for about two years and has just bought her first car.

“I didn’t have a good relationship with my parents and I got into some government financed housing through Community Connections and didn’t have anyone to help me learn to drive,” she said.

Young people who aren’t able to live at home have it tough enough, so for the past year DAISI has been running a program to give those who are still attending school the opportunity to learn to drive.

The Resilient Youth program began in Nimbin, but now covers the whole of the Northern Rivers region with 37 young people taking part and another 17 on a waiting list.

At the moment Keyarrah walks to and from her job, but said she doesn’t feel safe walking home at night and hopes to get her P-plates as soon as possible.

“This really helps with so many things because it gives me the opportunity to be mobile,” she said.

The program has just been assured of another year’s funding by the Department of Transport and Infrastructure.

As well as getting driving lessons, from both volunteers and also professional driving instructors, the participants are eligible for financial assistance to cover basic living and education costs.

“Driving is not the only issue for these students,” DAISI CEO Dona Graham said. “They can’t attend driving lessons if they don’t have food and clothing and somewhere to live.”


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