Student auction hits the stumps

Legendary Australian cricket player Glenn McGrath offered some words of wisdom to a group of disadvantaged and at-risk young people as they graduated from AGA’s Flip My Ride program.

A joint effort between AGA, Victoria Police, Youth Empowerment Agency and Jacky’s Gym, Flip My Ride aims to reduce the risk of 12-24-year-old marginalised youth in the Wyndham, Brimbank, Melton and Maribyrnong areas from engaging with the justice system.

On October 26, 17 students graduated from the program in which participants learned how to restore a car and learn vocational and life skills along the way.

The restored car, a Nissan Navara, was auctioned off on the day with the proceeds donated to McGrath Foundation, a charity of the students’ choosing.

Since the program’s inception, Flip My Ride has helped 27 participants into employment or further education. Participants Laki Siloni and Sam Galiona were both referred to the program from Victoria Police’s Offender Management program. Laki said the program helped him with a sense of belonging after he moved from New Zealand to Australia, “I have learnt new experiences on how to be a better person in society, moving forward I’m looking to get into full time employment,” he said.

Meanwhile Sam said the program helped him get on the right track and with his mental health, “The mentoring in this program helped me a lot with my depression and staying out of trouble with police. I enjoy working on the cars, and the white card I have gained will help me secure employment in the future,” he said.

Speaking at the event in Deer Park, Glenn McGrath shared insights to participants about why it is important to make the right choices in life.

“Early intervention programs are powerful catalysts for preparing participants at a critical time in their life by giving them structure, opportunity, direction and a sense of purpose. This can positively influence their ability to make the right decisions in the future,” Mr McGrath said.

Each student graduated the program with a tool kit worth $900 and since finishing the program, three students have found full-time employment in the hospitality sector. The next intake will take place on November 9, 2023.

 

Originally published October 27 2023 in the Wyndham Star Weekly

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