Adam Thompson: PCYC NSW - City of Sydney
Adam knocks down invisible barriers to get at-risk teens off to a good start
Adam Thompson believes the way young people start their day can set them up for success.
That’s why he volunteered at the City of Sydney branch of the Police Citizens Youth Club NSW (PCYC) to give gym sessions and breakfast to at-risk youth before school.
Seven years later, he has taken a full-time position as manager of the club, which has 1300 members, eight staff and a team of volunteers.
He describes his role as helping to “knock down some of the invisible walls” faced by children in Woolloomooloo, Darlinghurst and Surry Hills.
“We try to empower our young people by building their confidence, teaching them discipline and resilience and getting them working in a team,” he says.
If children have fallen out of the traditional school system, one of the aims is to use an alternative learning model to help them gain their Year 10 equivalency.
Adam is known for his inclusive approach. And the club boasts activities such as art, women's groups and cooking, alongside their traditional male-orientated activities.
On top of his role as manager, Adam also mentors groups of young people twice a week and often spends one-on-one time with them.
He has set up a Junior Boxing Squad at the club for the first time in 20 years. As coach, much of the training is done in his own time. And, of course, the focus is on personal development as well as boxing.
He says being a Westfield Local Hero shows him that people understand that the PCYC is making a real difference.
“It’s a real honour, you don’t do this kind of work for the accolades. You do it because you genuinely want to help people. It is really humbling.”
The PCYC will use its $10,000 Westfield Local Heroes grant to boost a program very close to his heart – the morning gym program.
The money will enable teenagers to participate in an early morning training session, facilitated by a trainer and a youth worker with the assistance of volunteers.
Afterwards, they will receive a nutritious breakfast and a lift to school, as truancy is still an issue, says Adam.