Foyer Port Adelaide Service Manager, Celeste Iannella, has a background in community development and more than ten years’ experience in the homelessness sector. As well as managing SA’s only Foyer, Celeste is a Validation Assessor for the Foyer Foundation where she utilises her experience leading Foyer Port Adelaide’s accreditation journey to support and assess Foyers nationally. Celeste is a is an enthusiastic cheerleader and committed advocate for young people, and an active campaigner for Advantaged Thinking.
I always welcome the opportunity that comes with writing the annual report to reflect on and celebrate the year that was.
The Foyer Port Adelaide team wholeheartedly believe in and value young people.
Embracing an Advantaged Thinking approach we invest in young people’s individual talents, supporting them to achieve their education, training and/or employment goals and create sustainable futures.
Working from a foundation known as the Deal, young people and the Foyer team engage in a mutual contractual relationship. The young person agrees to engage with what the Foyer has to offer, and the Foyer team commits to tailoring this offer so each young person is provided with the support and resources they need to succeed.
Through developing connections with local employers, we have been able to support several young people find work. Further demonstrating our investment in young people, a Foyer alumni commenced their social work placement at youth110.
Fundamentally, Foyers offer inspiring living and working environments that encourage independence, community belonging and wellbeing. Over 2021/22, the Foyer Port Adelaide community included several artistically talented young people who contributed to beautifying and enlivening our physical spaces. As part of their ‘something-for-something’ deal, one young person contributed their photos from a series that now adorns the Foyer hallway. Titled ‘A Place Called Home’, the series depicts iconic buildings and structures around Port Adelaide. Another created several digital pieces which will be displayed at both Foyer and youth110. Another young person took the lead in reimagining our common lounge space. This involved facilitating several consultations with young people to ensure the space was both welcoming and functional. Investment has encouraged young people to willingly come together, participating in board game nights, being ‘study buddies’ for each other and sharing hot chocolate and yarns.
Dressing our window to celebrate diversity, bring awareness to the local community and campaign for young people’s voices to be heard has become part of our community culture. This year, many Foyer young people were too young to vote during the Federal election, so we asked them to create a window display that shared what matters to them with the wider community. Some key topics of concern included accessible mental health support, LGBTIQA+ rights, and the need for more Foyers. Young people have some pretty important issues at the top of their list!
Foyer Port Adelaide participated in the Foyer Foundation inaugural Annual Blood Drive and were the proud winners, donating the most blood on average.
Thank you for investing in young people!
To support young people’s ambitions and activities, workers have liaised with community partners including the Wyatt Trust, Give It and the Foyer Foundation’s AFG Independence Fund. A wide range of support tailored to individual needs and goals was provided over the year, including:
- several young people received computers, software and/or textbooks to help them with their studies
- one young person received funding to complete a digital art course
- funding for a DJ course, the results of which included a parting gift of a playlist for group activities
- fuel vouchers to assist a young person with their two-hour return trip to their school-based apprenticeship.
I have two very special shout outs this year. The first is to Regency Park Rotary, who have shown a genuine interest in the young people at Foyer and have offered leadership opportunities for them.
My second shout out is to our major community partner, Credit Union SA who continue to be generous and committed supporters of young people in SA. Together, we explored and developed a range of opportunities over the past year, including the creation of the Credit Union SA Driving Program to assist young people obtain their licence and a young person being offered an opportunity to DJ at a company event.
Ongoing collaborations include:
- facilitation of financial literacy workshops,
- a working bee to bring colour to our hallways, and
- the establishment of an employment network.
Exciting times ahead!
As the Foyer movement continues to grow, I am excited for what the future holds for young people in South Australia.