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Teenagers put pedal to metal for youth homelessness

Teenagers put pedal to metal for youth homelessness

Teenagers put pedal to metal for youth homelessness

23 April 2019

Ready, set, go … one of the billycart races about to start at the South Australia/Northern Territory divisional youth celebration last week.

By Jessica Morris

Are you brave enough to be a ‘Billycart beast for justice?’ That was the question asked of high school-aged Salvos from across South Australia/Northern Territory Division, who held nothing back at their divisional youth celebration last week to raise money for Salvation Army youth homelessness programs.

Ten corps from across the division came together with “all guns blazing” at Ingle Farm Salvos in Adelaide for the free carnival evening, with 150 youth and leaders being encouraged to push themselves to the limit on the track, and in generosity.

As well as plenty of thrills and spills on the track, the youth enjoyed a carnival atmosphere with activities such as a henna/glitter temporary tattoo table (pictured below right) on offer for a small donation.

“Teenagers don’t often have a lot of money, but creating space for teenagers to participate in some fashion actually creates a culture of [them] supporting things like youth homelessness very early on. It becomes a habit,” said Captain Simon Pickens, Divisional Youth Secretary.  

“The practice and the young people involved are actually far more important than the money we’ve raised.”

Captain Pickens said the divisional youth team has worked unofficially with the youth homelessness department for some years, but this year is the first time the Divisional Youth Department is collaborating on an event-by-event basis to promote their work, educate youth about their programs, and fundraise.

“When young people gather, they find they are part of a larger community of young people who want to be active in what it means to be part of The Salvation Army,” said Captain Pickens.

“They realise they have a greater voice, have a greater influence, and they are actually a significant group of people.

“We make a really strong intention to gather, be together, meet Jesus and have some fun. But then [we want them to] go home and celebrate what they do with their communities and families.”

As the need to eradicate youth homelessness is a national issue, it is hoped that corps across the division can utilise these events as part of their local mission.

This is a desire that Area Officers have been in full support of now that South Australia and the Northern Territory have merged to create one division.

“The Area Officers (pictured right: Susan Parkinson Wallace with Dean and Vicki Clarke) have just been outstanding getting to know their young people. They’ve turned up to every event, they’ve asked questions to our young people, and they’ve even challenged us about what’s next,” said Captain Pickens.

“As leaders, we really appreciate having accessible leaders that want to our youth be the best they can be.”

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