The History of Youth and Families
In the late 1980s, seeing the burgeoning youth problem on the streets, a group of concerned citizens predominantly from the Pine Rivers Uniting Church began to hold monthly “Blue Light Discos”, firstly in the High School hall, then later in the Lions’ hall at the local showground. Numbers around 400 to 500 were not uncommon. Recognizing the size of the problem, a few, most significantly Mrs Ann Huth and Mr Richard Croston, began seeking the co-operative involvement of others, but this was not readily forthcoming.
Contact was made with the State Government’s Division of Youth, and Ken Rubie, a State public servant, and Ann wrote to all the local churches. In early 1990 we met to consider the options, and it took subsequent meetings over most of the next 18 months to arrive at a firm proposal, draft basic policies and philosophies, and consolidate as a united force for the rescue of local youth. At first we were auspiced by the Pine Rivers Neighbourhood Centre. The Association today still retains its interdenominational Christian roots.
Strathpine July 1991
In July 1991 the Pine Rivers Youth Project opened a Friday night drop-in centre in the Council’s Strathpine community hall, next to the Library. We were about 40 in number, representatives of eight local churches across the district, and rostered on duty about 7 or 8 per evening, to provide drop-in centre services. We aimed to bring adult friends into the lives of troubled youth, in a non-threatening context of indoor and outdoor games. We invited young people back to the centre where they were welcomed by a friendly team ranging in age from late teens to 40+.
Drop-in Centre to Counselling
Facing the difficulty of locating venues where our drop-in clients would be welcome, dealing with the problems of these young people’s activities putting us in difficult situations legally, and not least the Insurance crisis of the late 90s, both centres had closed by the end of 2000.
Having in 1994 become incorporated, in 1997 we began a Family and Individual Support Program counselling service, with State Government funding. Our name changed to Youth and Families Association of Pine Rivers Incorporated, (YAFA), at the time of the inclusion of the counselling service. This service is our principle activity, providing low cost, professional counselling and referral services to all comers. The service is primarily for the northern end of the Pine Rivers Shire, though certainly is not restricted to residents of this area.
Marsden Centre 1993
A few years later a second centre was opened at the Marsden centre, Kallangur, under a now expanded management group, with much the same vision, but with mostly a new team. These drop-in centres operated, with varying degrees of success, until the end of 2000. Some strong friendships were developed, and not a few young lives were significantly redirected, some through the centres, some through another avenue – music workshops.
There was no recurrent funding for these services, but we did receive grants from time to time, and enjoyed the co-operation of other organizations such as Marsden, and the generosity of the Pine Rivers Shire Council, in the form of free hall use
The music workshops, managed by Mr Richard Croston, and professionally directed by Ann Huth’s son Steven, ran for several years, funded at least in part by Government youth arts grants. These gave aspiring young musos opportunity to receive professional tuition in a setting which encouraged development of quality musical skills apart from the undesirable impacts and input of socially unacceptable and suggestive language.
Since 2014 we have been located on Anzac Avenue at Kallangur. We offer counselling for families, couples and youth. We have wheelchair access, and free car parking. Our service is government funded and so of no charge to our community. We do welcome donations.