Here’s How You Can Do Yr Bit For At-Risk Youth This Month Bc Times Are Tough

Content warning: This article discusses domestic violence and mental health.

If you’d like to speak to someone about domestic violence, please call the 1800 Respect hotline on 1800 737 732 or chat online.
Under 25? You can reach Kids Helpline at 1800 55 1800 or chat online.

If you need mental health support, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or chat online.

It’s tough constantly seeing an influx of articles and stories reminding you that the cost of living crisis is not only real but getting worse. For younger generations, this news has been having an increased impact on their mental health.

In an article by The Guardian, it was reported that around 1.2 million Australian primary school kids were living in poverty as a result of COVID and the cost of living crisis. Whether it’s due to losing a primary caretaker to COVID, a family member losing their job or just wage stagnation, more families are slipping into poverty each year. The results of financial struggles impacting kids have meant that students are feeling increasingly anxious about everything from going to school, to when they’ll even be able to eat.

This anxiety is impacting student learning, as state NAPLANs have shown a decrease in student averages in literacy, as 15 per cent of year nine students failed to reach the national minimum achievement standards. Some students have noted that financial struggles impact how they socialise with others in school, as not being able to afford to socialise or have new clothes creates a barrier to entry for them.

With financial tensions rising, domestic violence increasing, a rise in LGBTQ+ discrimination and a mental health crisis being underway, this has meant more kids are now significantly at risk.

A way you can help at-risk youth this time of year is to consider donating to a charity that focuses on giving kids the support they need, especially as winter starts to settle in.

From now, until the end of October, Return and Earn are raising funds for Youth Off The Streets, a prominent charity that offers a variety of support services to disadvantaged young people who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless.

In NSW, Return and Earn is the state’s container deposit scheme and largest litter reduction initiative. Save your empty drink bottles and cans and drop them off at a machine or depot for 10 cents each. They’ll be sent to recyclers and you can donate your refund directly to Youth Off The Streets.

Donating your drink container refunds is super easy – when visiting one of the hundreds of Return and Earn machines in NSW, you can select the donate option on the screen or use the Return and Earn app. You can also donate at automated depots using the bag drop service via the app. 100% of your refund goes to Youth Off The Streets to be spent on helping lift kids out of poverty.

Charities and community groups have raised over $42 million through Return and Earn through donations and fees for hosting return points. The last major fundraising appeal saw more than 1.5 million containers recycled and raised more than $157,000 to help restore and protect habitats crucial to the survival of endangered animals, so it’s a tried and tested way to do good for both the community and the land we live on.

Youth Off The Streets has a target of 1 million containers donated, which will raise $100K to help provide crisis accommodation, education options and access to caseworkers to support disadvantaged youth. But they can only get there with your help.

If you’d like to donate and help disadvantaged and vulnerable young kids, you can find your nearest return point on this map or on the Return and Earn app.

Image: Good Will Hunting