New service to help youths navigate life’s bumpy roads
NAVIGATING through one's youth can be a bumpy ride, and social worker Adam Klimkiewicz is here to make it a little easier.
Mr Klimkiewicz works for Youth Insearch and works closely in a case management capacity with young people, supporting them with workshops, support groups and one-on-one.
"It's unique in that it provides that consistent one-to-one support for young people within a wider peer-to-peer program," he said.
"We refer to this set-up as the place-based model."
While social workers in the program previously had to pay visits, Mr Klimkiewicz is part of a program to have a full-time social worker stationed in Bundaberg.
"We're very grateful to the Tenix Foundation and the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation for fully funding the social worker place-based model for the next three years," he said.
Mr Klimkiewicz said young people in the region can face many struggles.
"Unemployment can be a big challenge for our kids, much like mental ill-health, particularly with the exacerbating effects of the recent shutdowns," he said.
"A lot of our young people experience family trauma, and drug abuse remains a problem."
Mr Klimkiewicz said he really enjoyed his role in the community.
"I love being that proverbial shoulder on which a young person facing life's challenges can lean on and share their story - it's incredibly humbling," he said.
"Watching kids get together and form empowering, youth-led communities equally warms my heart.
"The workshops and support groups provide a space for young people facing challenges in which they may draw on each other's resources and create hope and lasting change - it's a wonderful thing."
Mr Klimkiewicz said he was inspired to get into such a line of work because it allowed him to connect with young people in their time of need.
"I've long found great meaning in the helping professions and meeting people - particularly young people - in their time of need," he said.
"I also have strong faith in peer-to-peer programs for their ability to empower participants."
Mr Klimkiewicz said his experiences had been many and varied so far.
"From meeting with fellow youth services and discussing referral pathways to Youth Insearch, to connecting with young clients themselves, to developing professional relationships with politicians and councillors, it's been an exciting journey so far," he said.
While Mr Klimkiewicz works for Youth Insearch, headspace Bundaberg has partnered with them to offer him a space to work from, facilitating the "wraparound support" that local youth can benefit from.
Mr Klimkiewicz said the Youth Insearch program was unique, and he was glad to be helping to facilitate it in the region.
"Youth Insearch is the only Australian organisation dedicated to helping young people face trauma through peer group support," he said.
"It's really great to be part of such an organisation, where young people empower one another to take control of their lives and where they give each other opportunities and skills to develop self-esteem and play a positive role in society."
Mr Klimkiewicz said Youth Insearch was hopeful of expanding.
"We certainly want to expand the place-based model to other regions," he said.
"We currently also have a social worker based in Dalby, and one will soon arrive in Tara/Chinchilla, and we'll continue to grow.
"We look forward to bringing the place-based model to as many young people as we can."
Get in touch
Youth Insearch is available to at-risk youths aged 14-20 from all walks of life, regardless of challenges.
This includes young people suffering from family separation, conflict, neglect and domestic violence. sexual abuse, grief and loss, bullying, low self- esteem, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts and self-harm, drug and alcohol abuse, lack of motivation and absence from school.
Young people can contact Mr Klimkiewicz on 5507 1215, 0499 700 601 or email email@example.com.