A partnership between the New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL) and Youth Insearch, one of the country's most successful youth intervention programs for at-risk youth, has been launched at a special fundraising event at Le Montage, Lilyfield.
The cocktail function, held on Wednesday night, promoted the partnership which will see Youth Insearch helping deliver the NSWRL's innovative "Changing Rooms" program.
The program was launched this season to help educate and support youth, aged 14-20 from the grassroots Rugby League community, to deal with life challenges off the field.
Youth Insearch Patron, His Excellency, Mr David Hurley AC, the Governor of NSW, and Penrith Panthers General Manager and former NSW Origin coach, Phil Gould AM, were among special guests at the function as money was raised to sponsor at-risk youth, allowing them to take part in the Youth Insearch program.
The program is one of the most successful youth intervention programs in Australia, with more than 80 per cent of participants making positive changes in their lives through counselling, support, mentoring and empowerment, delivered through weekend workshops, support groups, peer support and leadership, and individual care.
NSWRL Chief Executive David Trodden said the Youth Insearch partnership and program was the next stage in supporting and expanding on the work already being carried out by the NSWRL's True Blue Paul Langmack since the NSWRL Changing Rooms program was launched in June.
"We are really proud to partner with an organisation like Youth Insearch which has empowered more than 30,000 at-risk youths to take control of their lives over the past 30 years," Trodden said.
Langmack has already visited numerous Junior Rugby League clubs and assisted them to connect with the appropriate mental health and wellbeing organisation(s) to support youth to confront and deal with challenges off the field.
"With all of our Junior Rugby League clubs and participants being part of the NSWRL community, it's our responsibility as the governing body to provide assistance on and off the field," Langmack said.
"We all feel supported in the Rugby League circle but once we leave the change rooms and enter back into life's demands, some of us feel vulnerable and isolated."
Youth Insearch CEO Heath Ducker said the initiative will help to bridge the gap for young people.
"The Changing Rooms program will change young people's lives," Ducker said.
"Some of these young people may not have anyone to talk to about their issues and feel alone in their struggles."
"NSW Rugby League and Youth Insearch will help the young players to face their issues and equip them with the skills to overcome them."
Youth Insearch is the only Australian organisation dedicated to helping young people face trauma through peer group support, where young people help one another. For more information, visit youthinsearch.org.au