In this episode I talk with Jeff Hamilton. At the time of the interview, Jeff was working as the Victorian State Manager for White Lion.
Jeff joined the army as a young man but soon found it was not the place for him. Older men in the army were not growing in the way that he wanted to and there was an aggressive element he wanted to get away from. He moved into the social services due to his interest in the human mind and eventually found himself working with youth.
Jeff was passionate about working with at risk young people in his role at White Lion, an organisation that works with young people in the youth justice and out of home care system.
Jeff talks about the different programs offered by White Lion and the importance of patience, tolerance and resilience when working with young people and how these are passed on to young people using role modelling and mindfulness. A lot of these young people have histories of emotional, physical and sexual abuse and a lot of trauma.
White Lion case manage around 2500 young people and without White Lion their situations would worsen. The organisation is very focused on sustainability and being able to support the young person over a period of time. This allows them to have long term ongoing beneficial effects in their lives.
Jeff shares some really inspiring stories about young people who have gone on to gain employment and stayed in that employment for five years or more and have done so because White Lion gives people a second chance.
Jeff talks about the media’s role in how the public perceive young offenders and how if we are able to change this perception to be one that views them as vulnerable young people who have been through a lot, rather than bad young people, then we can be part of helping them on a positive journey and pathway.
Jeff now works as a youth coordinator for Cumberland Council.
For more information about how to support White Lion by mentoring a young person or offering them employment visit https://www.whitelion.asn.au/
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