A life-changing investment
30 January 2017
Jason Poutawa was 10 when he, his mother and brother moved into a government housing estate in which youth riots, drugs, violence and domestic violence meant many locals were too afraid to step out of their houses.
But when the Salvos moved into the area, life for Jason – and many others – was transformed.
Jason says his family had few possessions or resources. They struggled with basic necessities and had no computer or internet. So Jason became a regular at The Salvation Army homework club and cricket group. He attended youth events, camps, youth group, church and much more.
Inspired by the support he was given, Jason decided at the age of 17 that he would study youth work and has now worked for The Salvation Army for almost nine years. His current role as Territorial Youth Liaison Consultant sees him oversee a range of essential programs to help disadvantaged youth.
He recently shared his story with Honoured Friends* of The Salvation Army in Sydney. “I want to thank you for being part of The Salvation Army’s work 365 days a year,” he said. “I want to thank you for playing your part in The Salvation Army’s mission. It’s a big part of the reason I am here and why I do what I do.”
He continued: “A couple of years ago, a man who had passed away left a significant amount of funds to allocate to youth programs. That has enabled us to significantly help hundreds of young people in need to get their licences – a basic need in this world – so they can get jobs.
“We’ve been helping young people who’ve fallen out of the education system to gain an education, and helping young people into mentoring relationships through dance. In many areas, The Salvation Army is finding ways to engage with young people who are on the margins of our society.”
That one bequest and many other gifts, Jason says with a wide smile, have “allowed young people to experience the same hope and the same love that transformed my life.”
By Naomi Singlehurst
Learn more about becoming an Honoured Friend of The Salvation Army