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Byron Shire
May 9, 2021

Telling young people’s stories is Human Nature

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Human Nature jumping for joy

Stories teach us about life, about ourselves and about others.

One group whose stories are rarely heard and valued are at-risk young people. Northern Rivers based Human Nature are changing that with a storytelling project that they are currently crowdfunding to give voice to the stories of their program participants to create an ongoing resource of inspiration and transformation.

Human Nature’s Elev8 Program, covering the area from Grafton to Tweed Heads, takes on the challenge of rewriting young narratives in a two day Story Telling Workshop to be held in late July with Dr George Catsi and Human Nature Ambassador Mandy Nolan.

Drought, bushfires, floods and now covid-19 have totally disrupted the lives of young people across our region, cancelling milestone events and work opportunities, amplifying existing trauma and mental health issues, and isolating them from critical social connection and therapeutic support. This upcoming program gives this group of young people a place to connect and share their experiences.

Filling mental health gaps

Andy Hamilton, founder of Human Nature said their programs exist to fill these mental health gaps and make sure at-risk and disengaged young people get the therapeutic support and connection they need to thrive whatever challenges come their way.

When covid-19 forced isolations measures, Human Nature was quick to adapt their programs so that physical distancing did not mean social isolation for young people. Maintaining individual therapeutic support has remained a top priority for the non-profit, along with running successful virtual events.

As restrictions start to ease, Human Nature is already planning ways to support young people as they adjust to this next set of changes in their lives. Elev8-ing Youth Voices is one of these upcoming opportunities – a two day storytelling workshop with Dr George Catsi and Mandy Nolan that will offer at-risk young people in Human Nature’s Elev8 youth leadership program the opportunity to create a living story library that will both empower them and inspire others.

Some young people’s stories are marginalised and silenced

Mandy Nolan says that for young people at risk, often their stories have been marginalised and silenced. ‘We hear the stories of young people who are high achievers, young people who become doctors, who sail around the world, who are sporting heroes.

‘But what about the stories of young people who are struggling in their home environments? Young people with mental health issues? Young people who are trying to find their voice, and their feet in a world that often feels uncomfortable and unwelcoming.

‘Human Nature is an extraordinary organisation that  not only listens to young people’s stories, it gives the tools to re-write them.’

Without interventions like the Elev8-ing Youth Voices project, at-risk young people are facing the very real possibility of a mental health crisis as we emerge from this covid crisis.

‘I hope you’ll join me in making a donation to support this vital work’ said Ms Nolan. ‘Donations from the community are what fuel Human Nature, and I know that together we can give young people a powerful voice during this time when they have often felt powerless and voiceless’.

To make a donation, visit https://www.humannature.org.au/make-a-donation.

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