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Morley the merrier for energetic youth ministry

Morley the merrier for energetic youth ministry

Morley the merrier for energetic youth ministry

29 November 2021

Community Case Managers Michael Dawson and Jodie Egan prepare breakfast as part of the Morely youth team's Schools Program.

by Jessica Morris

The Morley Corps youth ministry team in Perth engages with more than 300 kids every month, so it’s no surprise that they admit to running on a combination of caffeine, laughs, and the Holy Spirit.

The team is led by Youth Pastor Davis Bode, with assistance from Community Case Managers Jodie Egan, who recently relocated from Karratha, and Michael Dawson. Together, the dynamic trio approaches holistic ministry with energy – and it’s palpable, even when you’re watching their youth group antics online.

“The young people we engage with just want somewhere to belong,” says Davis. “We provide a place where all our leaders believe in our young people and encourage them to be the best version of themselves.”

Youth ministry at Morley seems to operate 24/7. It includes a Friday night youth program (Morley YTH), case management, school engagement, and school holiday and breakfast programs. It’s a lot of work, and the trio estimate they reach up to 400 young people. And the best part is they are seeing lives changed.

“One of the biggest struggles we had this past year was facing the isolation caused by COVID-19. Thankfully, we have had such great support from the Territorial Youth and Young Adult Department,” says Michael.

By connecting with young people online or over the phone, the Morley youth team experienced growth, even in lockdown. “Young people are already on their phones, so we as a team thought, ‘Why not put good content, that gives life, into the palm of their hands?’,” says Davis.

“We decided to take our Friday night YTH online, and during this period, we were able to have our ‘Summer YTH Experience’, where we engaged with over 400 young people throughout the week, and over 500 people of other ages, too.” Case management plays a pivotal role. Michael and Jodie focus on an early-intervention model to advocate for young people experiencing homelessness, mental health and identity issues, and family estrangement. Clients are referred to them through local high schools, and they always invite them into the Morley YTH community.

“We try to look at it from a holistic viewpoint by engaging with the family and providing support where possible (e.g. financial counselling or the COACH family mentoring program). We help the young person build positive connections outside of school, to set goals, and achieve them, and we instil hope,” says Michael.

This year, the team engaged with three schools. Aiming to meet the unique needs of each community, Davis, Michael and Jodie offer a breadth of options to students – breakfast programs at Kiara and Hampton Senior High Schools, a recess table tennis program at John Forrest High School, and lunchtime soccer games. They also support Year 7 students through orientation and assist with major mental health events like R U Ok Day.

“We may never see the end product, but we truly feel honoured to be a part of [these young people’s] journey – to plant a seed of love and hope in their lives that can potentially grow into something amazing later in their life, where they can then be a positive impact on those around them,” says Michael. “We are seeing them become strong and confident young people.”

  

 

 

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