Education First Youth Foyer turns 2

By Ashlea Witoslawski

The Education First Youth Foyer was full of smiles and positive vibes as the organisation celebrated its second birthday on Friday, July 27.

Community groups and local businesses including Greater Shepparton City Council attended the event, enjoying music and food, some of which was prepared by the students.

Created in partnership between Berry Street, Beyond Housing Network and GOTAFE, the Foyer is home to 40 young people aged between 16 and 24, focusing on education and providing the residents with the support, skills and tools necessary to become independent adults.

Education First Youth Foyer manager Anita McCurdy said the first two years have ‘‘been fantastic’’.

‘‘The program has a unique set-up with 40 young people living in the one spot,’’ Ms McCurdy said.

‘‘But it provides inspiration and aspirations and the young people do rise to the occasion.’’

Ms McCurdy said they had already seen a lot of successful transitions into employment.

‘‘Seventy per cent have been employed at one time or another,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s an amazing program, with many opportunities to link with community organisations and partners.’’

The event proceedings began with a welcome to country from Aunty Pam Pedersen, who praised the Foyer’s commitment to supporting young people of the Goulburn Valley.

‘‘I get such joy from coming here and I enjoy being with all of you,’’ Ms Pedersen said.

Students Janelle Graham, Byron Macumber and David Waara talked about their experiences since moving into the Foyer.

‘‘I’m putting things in place with the help of the Foyer,’’ Miss Graham said.

‘‘I’m just happy that I’m here,’’ Mr Macumber said.

Michelle Bourke of Your Sold Real Estate shared her company’s pleasure, supporting many students with their housing needs after leaving the Foyer.

The formalities finished as the whole room sang Happy Birthday and a cake was cut by City of Greater Shepparton Mayor Kim O’Keeffe.