Health and wellbeing blogs

The importance of nurturing future generations

To mark Youth Week 2019 St John of God Social Outreach Director of Youth Services Anna-Marie Thompson discusses the importance of nurturing future generations.

 Youth Week Blog 2019

The theme for Youth Week WA this year is Nurture the Now, which celebrates the different stages of growth and progress for young people. As a society, we sometimes forget about our important role in encouraging young people to actively and constructively contribute to their communities – to express ideas and views, contribute to issues that affect them and inspire their peers.

After all, young people are the adults of tomorrow - the decision-makers, parents, community leaders, workforce and carers. They will be important factors in shaping our future, and in turn we are crucial in shaping theirs.

How do we do this?

By empowering them to be their unique selves, allowing them to fail and helping them to celebrate their successes, however small. It’s about walking alongside them during the tough times and being available to listen to their ideas, fears and thoughts without judgement.

Sometimes this support is not available from a young person’s family. Sometimes their home environment is chaotic, or not conducive in others ways to helping them learn new skills and flourish into early adulthood.

Horizon House

Horizon House nurtures young people by providing safe and supportive accommodation to those aged 16 to 22 that are homeless or at risk of homelessness, so that they have the stability and confidence to learn life skills, find their purpose and connect with others while living alongside other people their age.

Many of the young people who live at Horizon House, which has 11 locations in Victoria and WA, have faced challenges such as family conflict, physical or emotional abuse, disrupted education, unemployment or the effects of substance abuse.

Young people who engage in our program are supported to access education, training and/or employment opportunities and take part in a life skills program that teaches them essential skills for living independently, such as cooking, cleaning, budgeting and the ability to build healthy relationships and take their place in the community.

Our Horizon House caregivers provide more than just a bed to sleep in at night. They are listeners and encouragers, and they create energy and community in the houses by providing a safe and nurturing environment for young people who often have no other place to go to.

This Youth Week, let’s celebrate and nurture the young people in our lives and support them on whatever part of the journey to independence they’re on.

Anna-Marie Thompson
Anna-Marie Thompson Social Outreach Community Mental Health Services and Youth Services Director

About the Author

Anna is the St John of God Social Outreach Community Mental Health Services and Youth Services Director. She has been working in mental health since 1988. She has worked across the continuum of care from acute to residential, including portfolios which include aged care, sub acute care and alcohol and other drugs services.She has held senior leadership positions in both private and public health sector. She is passionate about partnering with consumers to inform service delivery and has a strong interest in creating workplace culture that support people to do their best work.