I am pleased to present the Annual Report of St John’s Youth Services Inc for the 2021-2022 financial year.
It would be remiss of me if I didn’t start by thanking our staff and highlighting both their amazing work and the brilliant young people who we have had in our service. The employees of St John’s Youth Services are truly the heart of the organisation, and they lead with passion, positivity and purpose.
Nicole and our Service Managers summarise our services and many amazing stories over the following pages, and I would highly recommend each of them to you.
The 2021-2022 financial year saw a renewal of our strategic plan which was underpinned by the pillars of sustainability, early intervention, growth, brand and advocacy. It was a pleasure to see this plan come together, a collaborative effort between the Board, Senior Management and our valued employees who each contributed to the vision of growth in the best interests of young people. The forward thinking and innovative strategy tackles homelessness by ensuring we are placed to support young people end-to-end starting with early intervention and prevention services to a commitment to further embed the successful Foyer model across the state in the coming years. It truly is an exciting time for St John’s Youth Services and we remain steadfast that young people are at the centre of all we do.
During the year we had three board members depart our organisation after many years of distinguished service. To Caroline Hurr, Eden Williamson-Cameron and Ciara Merrifield we extend our gratitude for their expert guidance, contributions, and care they all showed throughout their tenure. All were deeply committed to our purpose and fierce advocates for the young people we have the privilege in serving. We welcomed Geoff Slack, Christine Bell and Justin Piteo, Treasurer, to our board not long after the AGM and each has been invaluable member of the team.
I’d like to thank all of our directors who serve St John’s Youth Services as volunteers, offering their time and expertise. The commitment is no small measure, and it has been a delight to witness the dedication and conviction that each member has demonstrated in the past year. Thank you.
Much of what we are able to do to support young people wouldn’t be possible without the ongoing support of our members and donors. Your support means more to our organisation than a few short words could convey, but please know that you have our deepest appreciation and thanks. We could not do it without you. I ask you to continue to keep St John’s Youth Services in your mind and continue to advocate for our service. We would love you to share our stories, the stories of young people and support us in welcoming new members of the St John’s Youth Services family.
Welcome to St John’s Youth Services’ first online annual report. In 2022 I am very proud to bring, as the CEO, the Annual Report to you in our 41st year of service delivery. That’s pretty cool, isn’t it?
So, what has the year been and seen? The year kicked off with our alliancing in the north-western suburbs, which Foyer is now a part of. The first 12 months have been a unique and exciting opportunity for us to really get to know each other and look at being innovative and creative to deliver services to people experiencing homelessness in the north-western suburbs in metropolitan Adelaide. And the next twelve months will also be doing the same but getting bolder and brighter about that moving forward.
What else has happened? We had Credit Union SA provide to us, as they have for many years (maybe ten years), Christmas gifts for the young people at St John’s Youth Services. A big thank you and shout out for this. It makes every young person’s Christmas feel special, that someone does care for them. Keep an eye out for our campaign that will commence in the next few weeks where we are going to be raising funds for young people to receive birthday and graduation gifts.
We strongly feel that just because young people are experiencing homelessness, disadvantage and poverty right at this particular time in their life, they still deserve, as we all do, to feel special and cared for. So, keep an eye out for that new campaign.
What else has happened? We held our High Tea where many of you joined me for a lovely afternoon. From that I have also held Board lunches where one of the Board Members has joined me to have a yarn, and get to know people who have been long term, short term or new supporters of St Jonh’s Youth Services. These have been a great opportunity. If you would like to come and have lunch with me, to be a part of those lunches, please just give the office a call. I would love to have you join us.
What else has happened? I want to do a bit of a focus on culture. Our LGBTIQA+ Action Plan is at any minute about to be updated and released, together with our Multicultural Action Plan which is also under review and will be updated and released shortly. Our Reconciliation Action Plan has gone through the rigorous approval process with Reconciliation Australia, and we will be launching that in December 2022, so keep an eye out for an invite to that. If you don’t get an invitation, again give us a call and we will make sure you get one if you’re interested in attending and I forgot to put you on the list. Sorry, in advance.
So that’s very exciting! The other cultural piece of work we’re doing is with the other Anglican organisations in South Australia that are Anglicare Australia members. We are looking at developing a cultural capability framework that will support our First Nation’s workers but also, of course, support our First Nations communities. And, in saying that, a big thank you to the Grannies Group in the western suburbs. They have been integral in supporting our Reconciliation Action Plan, but also in building us a great foundation to move forward and ensure our cultural capability is as strong as it can be. So, we’ve had a great year culturally, but of course that journey builds on itself and continues to grow as we who are white privileged continue to grow. So, that is fabulous.
A little bit of a focus on young people, because let’s face it, that’s why we’re here. What have been their successes this year? I think if you asked young people, their successes would be that they got to be involved in lots of great activities and that is very much due to the work and generosity of some of our supporters around recognising that their mental health is important, and some of that mental health can be addressed by connections with the community and with positive people. We have had a range of activities including activities that Adventure Connect provide, as well as support from the Fay Fuller Foundation and Day Family Foundation to deliver activities to young people to help them to be connected and feel safe in their community. So, that is a great outcome for young people.
We implemented a new feedback process this year where we give a young person a pretty groovy postcard with the idea being that they write a message on that postcard for a young person that will be entering the service on their departure. This has proven to be a fabulous initiative. It has not just given our workers great feelings of satisfaction and wonderment at what young people have achieved and what they think about the service and the team and what they want to share with the young person coming behind them, it has also been a great process for the young people writing those notes. But of course, most importantly, for young people receiving those notes of encouragement from other young people. It is certainly something we will continue, and I’m pretty sure you will find quotes from those postcards throughout our annual report. So very exciting.
I think that might be it. The final thing I need to talk about is to give a big thank you to our volunteer Board for their diligence, their creativity, their innovation and their support of both me and St John’s Youth Services. I want to thank the teams, because with their passion, compassion, creativity, innovation and fun, they deliver great services to young people and community.
And finally, to young people – we believe in you, we are here to support you in whatever you want to do. We truly believe we’re a strength-based organisation and what we want to do is to help you find a place you can call home.
So, thank you. I am looking forward to your feedback. If you think that we’ve got something wrong in the annual report please let us know, but have fun reading. There are some great facts and infographics and also some stories from our teams in the annual report.