Narrabri High School has joined forces with the Gunnedah Police and Citizens Youth Club (PCYC) in the ‘Fit To Learn’ program.

Senior Constable Sarah Hobson who has been attached to the Youth and Crime Prevention Command for six years, along with Gunnedah PCYC manager Peter Altona, met students who have begun the program for an introductory session followed by basketball and other activities.

Senior Constable Hobson explained how the program works.

“The 2018-2022 Youth Strategy indicates that 16 per cent of all offenders in NSW were aged between 10-17 years of age during 2016-2017,” SC Hobson said.

“Evidence shows it is beneficial to keep young people out of the youth justice system wherever possible to prevent possible entrenchment into the criminal justice system.

“Crime and anti-social behaviour among disengaged youth in NSW and Australia is prevalent and has strong causal links from being exposed directly or indirectly to domestic violence, which leads to alcohol and drug abuse, mental health issues, lack of employment, and school disengagement.

“‘Fit To Learn’ is a program designed to re-engage disengaged youth into the education system, allowing them to further develop intellectual and social skills.

“The program encourages participants to explore their strengths in building respectful relationships within the school environment while also developing emotional intelligence skills preparing them for future employment.

“The program utilises a cognitive behaviour therapy and behavioural therapy approaches and is to be used as a support mechanism for selected young people who are disengaged from or within the education system at various levels, either on a cognitive or social level,” said SC Hobson.

“It is aimed at young people aged between 14 and 17 years of age, with a selected participant number being a maximum 12 participants per program.

“Facilitation of the program is to be undertaken at PCYCs where possible.”

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