The days that are upon us are compelling! We live in a time when young people are poorly misunderstood, medicated and relegated to insignificance whilst the all-knowing adults make all the important decisions. This approach leaves youths without a voice and many young people in Australia and around the world, feel disenfranchised. They try hard to fit in only to be left isolated and frustrated.
So it dawned on me that through mentoring, we can create platforms for young people to feel a sense of belonging and thereby become happy and productive members of our society.
It is no longer a question whether our actions affect young people directly; the question is how can we move forward. It is factual that we don't require big efforts to make a lasting difference. We desire an Australia where my children will feel confident and know that they will be judged by their abilities and the tenets of hard work I have instilled in them, and not by indicia of where they might be from or whether or not they are of a certain skin colour. This is my passion: to make Australia stronger and better for up and coming generations; to see an Australia that is equitable, peaceful and that will remain an attractive place for all around the world.
At the same time, I fully appreciate that those seeking to make Australia home must also understand our values. Through M-YES Inc. we identified the need to educate multicultural youths to understand and embrace the opportunities that Australia presents. The irony is that though we think we are saving the young people, little do we realise how much inner strength and talent they each embody. It takes an incredible level of resilience to go through gross human right violations and then make it to Australia and try to adjust to a new life. That is a strength which most youths of mainstream society do not appreciate and cannot fathom. It is one thing to resettle youths into Australia, it is another to support them through tangible measures that work.
I am challenged to see government spending so much on ideals such as multiculturalism, social inclusion, harmony and social cohesion without actually showing any hard figures to substantiate the need for such wasteful spending. Yet, it all comes at the neglect of such simple programs as mentoring which unlike the aforementioned intangible aspirations, achieves tangible results for a stronger Australia. Mentoring 30 young people in Australia for a whole year will only cost about $90,000/annum; it costs the government around $86000 per annum to assist 1 young person through the juvenile justice system for a whole year. That is only the minimal cost. Why should we as the public of Australia, allow our taxpayer dollar to be spent on expensive Rolls Royce remedial interventions that are so precarious?
Most of the youths I talk to have some desire to succeed. However they want to learn to fish rather than be given fish. Through mentoring we have the key to unlock their potential. An effective mentor gives a mentee confidence to tackle challenges of the future as he or she identifies and provokes the mentee's unique creative potential. We sometimes take these things for granted. I have seen firsthand the current destructive trends that set to befall our young boys and girls: feeling disconnected, feeling like no one listens and no one cares, early teenage pregnancy, criminal conduct, drug abuse, depression and suicide and more recently, extremism and jihadism. To put that in context, imagine 47% of Australians being born overseas or having one parent born overseas...that figure is growing every day as Australians delay and even write off giving birth; as divorce rates increase while the mainstream population ages rapidly. Australia will soon have more than 50% of it's youths from overseas or having a parent from overseas.
We can circumvent long term disharmony that will stem from prolonged isolation and hopelessness, sustained discrimination and systemic marginalisation. We can see the issues precipitating in various forms all over Australia. Taking no action is far too expensive an option; we can all be proactive in our own little ways to make this society better for up and coming generations to belong, cherish and fight for its freedom. The investment we undertake now will lead to balanced and equitable outcomes in jobs, inter-racial and intercultural harmony, and most of all, a bunch of productive individuals who might otherwise end up in correctional services or worse.
My call to you is to join up to assist our vulnerable youths plan to shape their own future and make positive life choices in Australia.
This is an exciting and inexpensive way of living in a happy and prosperous Australia.
Thanks for stepping forward to support us.
Tamba Thomas, President, M-YES Inc.