Funding for "essential" school program

Published 4:00pm 8 March 2024

Funding for "essential" school program
Words by Nick Crockford

Pictured: Rivers Baptist Church Pastor Shane Greenhalgh, with church staff and teachers from the Rivers Youth Versatile Education and Training School.

Disengaged and at-risk young people in the City of Moreton Bay are getting a second chance at education thanks to a church program supported by Carinity.

Rivers Youth Versatile Education and Training School (RYVETS) is a flexi-school for those at-risk of offending, or who have disengaged from mainstream schooling.

The program for those aged 12-14 years, it is run by Rivers Baptist Church, Queensland Police Service and Dakabin, Pine Rivers and Bray Park State High Schools.

“The partnership began through our church’s connections with one of the local high schools who had the vision for the flexi-school,” said Rivers Baptist Church Pastor Shane Greenhalgh.

“Our church recognised the great need for vulnerable youth in our neighbourhood to be empowered through having a second chance at education.”

The flexi-school runs in the Lawnton-based church’s youth space, with Education Queensland staff and up to 15 students each day.

“Many of the students who have been through the program or who are currently enrolled have experienced childhood trauma,” Shane said.

“Without an education, they become vulnerable to criminal activity or poverty as they transition into their adult years.”

Re-engaged

“We’ve already seen two cohorts of students successfully re-engage with their education through RYVETS.

“They have subsequently moved onto vocational pathways or continued in their education either at a mainstream high school or at the Salvation Army flexi-school school for Years 10-12 students, which is just down the road.”

Funding from Carinity’s Collaborative Community Projects has allowed the education program, running since late-2021, to expand.

This has included supporting social and emotional programs for RYVETS participants and running a Red Frogs Board Riders community event at a skate park.

“Carinity’s funding has allowed the inclusion of a meal program so each student at RYVETS gets a free breakfast, morning tea and lunch each day,” Shane said.

“The addition of the food program has been essential as it has removed one of the significant barriers to school attendance that at-risk youth experience.”

Carinity’s Collaborative Community Projects supports church-run programs designed to strengthen neighbourhoods, promote connectivity for vulnerable people, and assist them to reach their full potential.

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