A bunch of local politicians, representatives from associations and members of the public grabbed the swag on Saturday night and slept under the stars in Meelon to raise funds for Homestead for Youth.
The organisation, managed by experienced foster carers Marty and Carla Fadelli, seeks to purchase a property in Meelon, near Pinjarra, to establish a refuge for youth at risk and their families.
Homestead for Youth uses what Ms Fadelli calls ’distraction therapy’ instead of traditional clinical psychology.
They organise tailor-made workshops and tasks to provide youth at risk with a project they can work on from beginning to end to encourage them to open up and tackle underlying problems. .
“They take part in the projects, and then they start to talk about what’s going on in their life,” Ms Fadelli said.
They currently have horse riding, car restoration, music, fitness, dog therapy and art programs in place, but they also work to adapt and develop new programs to the interests of the teenagers.
Ms Fadelli said that after taking part in a few sessions the teenagers come with a different mindset, are willing to participate, become part of the Homestead family and get assistance to solve any family and life issues
The organisation now seeks to purchase a block in Meelon in order to establish a refuge home for both youth at risk and their close family members in order to work together to improve their lives.
The refuge would be able to house between six and seven teenagers and their family figures as well as have enough space for another six and seven teenagers to come and take part in the hands on projects.
They would keep their centre at West Swan running, but would like to see their property in Meelon become the centre of a whole network of services in the Peel region.
Ms and Mr Fadelli reached an agreement with the owners of the property whereby if they managed to pay a $200,000 bond they would be able to start running the programs in the property.
In order to raise funds for the project, Ms and Mr Fadelli organised a sleepout for local politicians and representatives from associations in the Peel region on Saturday last week.
The delegates were to be sponsored by the public to sleep out in the open and participate in tasks and challenges.
City of Mandurah councillors Dave Schumacher and Peter Jackson, local MP Andrew Hastie, and dignitaries from Austin Cove Baptist College, HALO, Shalom House, GP Down South, SMYL, Foundation Christian Collage and A1Fun among others joined in for the challenge.
The Homestead organisation prepared an orientation game for the delegates to collect matches, billies, newspapers, cardboard boxes and food from checkpoints around the property to make their sleepout more comfortable.
They also arranged games for all ages such as sumo wrestling and mechanical bull riding – a favourite.
The participants enjoyed a sausage sizzle, had a go at making damper in a billy and shared their stories before grabbing the swag and defeating the elements.
To donate go to www.chuffed.org/project/h4ysleepout