Rainbow youth rejoice! Naughty Noodle Fun Haus has this week announced the launch of YAAS! Young, Authentic and Social Program, a transformative arts and culture program for Young People aged 12-24 living on the Central Coast with a focus on diverse identities and abilities.
Supported by the Australian Government Department of Social Services the program aims to empower participants, develop personal resilience, leadership skills and build community ties, friendships and connections through activations, hang outs, events, performance, creative workshops & celebrations as well as ongoing fortnightly drop-ins for 12–17-year-olds. 66% of LGBTQIA+ youth in Australia still experience bullying based on their identity and these kids are 12 times more likely to experience depression due to this harassment. Multiple LGBTIQ Youth suicides across the Central Coast last year alone were directly attributed to bullying and solidified the need for a focused and collaborative federal, state and local approach which focuses on marginalised youth not as a tack on program but as the spotlight for building resilience, connection and networks.
Working with Police, Headspace, GNL and PCYC – YAAS! Participation will reinforce the transformative impact of empowering regional young people to explore and express their unique creative identity. Everyone is welcome at YAAS! including friends, family, and allies.
Leading the YAAS! Program is Youth Engagement – Senior Youth worker and Producer, Carlee Heise who is returning home to the Central Coast for the role. She is a performance-maker and youth worker, passionate about amplifying young people’s voices. Carlee has nurtured young artists through her work at Shopfront Arts in South Sydney, and has supported youth experiencing homelessness in crisis and transitional housing at Project Youth in the Sutherland Shire.
“I am delighted to be leading the YAAS! Program, I spent my youth living in Regional NSW, and I know how significant a safe and welcoming space like YAAS! would have been for me. YAAS! is here to uplift and empower young people, proudly shining a light and giving voice to marginalised youth. The energy in the Naughty Noodle office is electric! What a privilege to be working as part of the team leading the charge and change for a happier, healthier, and more welcoming Central Coast.”
YAAS! Young, Authentic and Social will soft launch with a drop-in on R U OK? Day. Rainbow young people and allies aged 12-17 are invited to join Carlee for artmaking, music and snacks. It will be a safe space for like-minded young people to make meaningful social connections, hang out, connect, and explore their creativity.
Date: Thursday, 8 September Time: 4-6pm Where: 200 Mann St, Gosford (in front of Gosford station)