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‘Spark Collective’ igniting leaders on the NSW Central Coast


Spark Collective is an initiative of Oasis Youth Services on the NSW Central Coast. Pictured is Emma Croce, team leader; Kim Hallinan, Youth Support & Mission Leader; Brittany Knight, Youth Justice Caseworker.
By LAUREN MARTIN

A Salvation Army initiative on the NSW Central Coast is identifying and building up leaders from the local community through Oasis Youth Services.

Spark Collective is a nine-month leadership program for teens and young adults. The idea behind the program is to empower young people to let their voices be heard and to take action to spark positive change in the community.

Oasis Central Coast Team Leader Emma Croce said this year is the second time the initiative has been run, and she’s excited to see how the participants progress throughout the year.

The 2022 Oasis Central Coast Spark Collective participants focussed on making a difference in their community around the issue of youth mental health.

“We believe that young people are critical to building a strong community. The issues young people care about must be heard, and young people must be empowered to come up with innovative solutions that make a difference.”

As well as undertaking leadership training and hearing from guest speakers like young professionals from the local community and community leaders, the Spark Collective participants devise and work on a social justice project.

“As a team, they bring forward ideas of what they’re passionate about. [It could be] youth mental health; LGBTQIA+ inclusive practices and how to do that; kids with cancer. As a team, they come up with a collective project that they work on.”

Last year’s Spark Collective group came up with a week of activities to mark Youth Mental Health Day that included Instagram ‘lives’, a festival with other agencies and art therapy workshops. “As staff, we helped facilitate, but it was their ideas,” said Emma.

Oasis Youth Support and Mission Lead Kimberley Hallinan said the Spark Collective initiative, developed by the team at Oasis Central Coast, aligns with The Salvation Army’s mission pillar of caring for people, working for justice and building healthy communities. “Young people don’t feel like they have a voice, and this gives them an opportunity to work on that skill of: ‘How can I bring my voice into the community?’”

This year the local Wyong Wildcats Baseball Club will support the Spark Initiative through fundraising and development days.

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