Social impact: Bridge Project Patron Michael Malthouse with ReBuild worker Will, YMCA Victoria Chair Anthea Hancocks and Lord Mayor Robert Doyle at the YMCA Bridge Breakfast.
More than $121,500 raised and counting!
In a room full of VIPs and among speakers including the current Lord Mayor, a former Deputy Premier and a record breaking AFL coach - it was the words of a young man with a colourful past that had the greatest impact at the annual YMCA Bridge Project Breakfast.
When YMCA ReBuild crew member Will spoke, the 390 strong crowd in the Regent Theatre’s Plaza Ballroom fell silent.
Will provided a brave insight into his experience of getting into trouble and being incarcerated; he continued by describing how being part of the Bridge Project and eventually being employed by ReBuild changed his life.
He said; “My family are proud of me now. I can hold my head high. I’ve had a job, bought my own car and now I’m looking for full-time employment.”
With equal parts charm and endearing cheek, Will also put forward a sales pitch for his services as a painter and landscaper, suggesting he was open to employment offers from those in the room.
The Bridge Breakfast brought together leaders in government, business and the wider community.
The theme of the morning was Every Action Counts, that we can all make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged young people by making a donation, hiring ReBuild or even offering employment.
The YMCA Bridge Project recruits and supports organisations to provide training, mentoring and ultimately jobs to young people at risk. YMCA ReBuild is a social enterprise that directly employs young people and provides quality facility maintenance services.
Lord Mayor Robert Doyle and former Deputy Premier now Director of the Centre of Innovative Justice at RMIT Rob Hulls, spoke passionately in support of the Bridge Project and the role the whole community must play to help young people at the cross roads.
Bridge Project Patron Michael Malthouse, in an on-stage interview with emcee Tony Jones said, “No matter where we are or who we are, we’ve got some capacity to help young people.”
General Manager at Healthscope Jenny Kent shared her experience of doing just that by hiring ReBuild for facilities maintenance and landscaping. Jenny spoke of the professionalism and dedication of the crew she hired; she said her hospital grounds had never looked better.
Bridge Project Manager Mick Cronin reminded the audience that supporting Bridge isn’t just helping young people, but “helping families and helping whole communities.”
But of course, it was Will who drew the greatest applause after sharing his story and his savvy sales pitch worked – by close of business three job offers had been received.
Every Action Counts
There are three things you can do to support the YMCA Bridge Project:
Expressions of interest from businesses wishing to employ a young person and hire ReBuild are still being sought. What can you do to make a difference?
All money raised on the day goes directly back to supporting at risk young people, thanks to the support of our event sponsors Far East Consortium.