Young people at school can be vulnerable to the challenges of adolescence, and those from refugee backgrounds face a journey to adulthood that comes with the extra complexity of resettling in a new country.
To help Refugee Youth in North Geelong flourish, CatholicCare provides a Justice Education Program to promote social cohesion in postcode 3214.
The latest 10-week program gave students presentations from a number of community organisations - to help them understand the Australian legal system, get along in a multicultural community, tolerate difference, stay safe online and interact with the Police.
It also provided students with information on how destructive arson can be to the community, courtroom etiquettes, how their decisions now can affect their future, and issues around bullying and racism.
Above: Leading Senior Constable, Andy Brittain talking to students at CatholicCare's Justice Education Program.
"Andy from Victoria Police gave a real life example of a bright young man he knew who committed an offence. After studying, he was offered his dream job at a global IT company in the US but was unable to accept the offer because his visa was refused based on the conviction. This got the students asking questions and raising hypothetical situations," said CatholicCare Volunteer Coordinator, Matt Walton.
The program culminates in a mock trial at the Geelong Magistrate’s Court, which gives students the chance to consider what really happens when you come into contact with the legal system.
“Another highlight of the program was a Shout Out Speaker from the Centre for Multicultural Youth who came to Australia to escape war from her homeland. Asked how to create inclusive spaces in a school environment for newly arrived refugees, she said local students can make refugees feel welcome by simply inviting them to join in and play, and treating them much like the way they treat all students,” said Nestor Estampa, CatholicCare Refugee Child and Family Case Worker.
A huge thank you to the community partners helping us deliver the program: Senior Court Registrar Mark Baker of The Magistrates’ Court of Victoria, Team Leader Danielle Parker, Manager of the fOrt/City of Greater Geelong (COGG), Middle School Manager Simon Scoullar of North Geelong Secondary College, Salvation Army Northside Geelong Community Centre, Rachelle Allen of Barwon Adolescent Task Force, Lawyer Lauren Hutson of Barwon Community Legal, Team Leader Barry Petrovski of Centre for Multicultural Youth, Senior Station Officer Gavin Fitzgerald of Country Fire Authority, and Leading Senior Constable Andy Brittain of Victoria Police.
Last year, 349 people participated in one of our Justice Education Programs.
Learn more about the Geelong Settle Well program.