Albany Youth Support Association’s Young House celebrated thirty years of supporting youth homelessness in Albany on Thursday 24th November at the Albany Town Square. The 30th birthday event was presented to the community by the Drug Aware Open Access Youth Arts Studio, through funding from the Great Southern Development Commission’s Community Chest Fund, the studio’s Healthway sponsorship and the City of Albany.
In reference to the event, AYSA’s CEO Rick England stated, “This event was a great opportunity to celebrate AYSA’s contribution to youth at risk and youth homelessness over 30 years. Albany Youth Support Association has a unique responsibility in the Great Southern Community providing crisis accommodation support, early intervention and long term transitions for young people moving out of homelessness. 42% of the homeless population are under 25 years of age and when we consider the long term impact of this on the next generation, the cost to the our society it is very significant. The most vulnerable and our greatest asset are young people and children. Children and young people are the decision makers of tomorrow and opportunity and aspirations are everything”.
Following the Welcome to Country by Noongar Elder, Mr Lester Coyne and speeches from AYSA CEO, GSDC Chairperson, Mr Ross Thornton, His Worship the Mayor of Albany and Peter Watson MLA, a massive cake cutting ceremony took place, with didgeridoo performed by a youth participant of the Open Access studio. Live music was then performed by the studio’s current and past youth musicians, with additional Albany youth musicians also being involved including Bree Simpson, Harmonic Fusion, Kissed, youth crew from the Wanslea Moorditj Boys “More than Music” program and special visiting Hip Hop guests Dazastah, Bryte MC and Paulie P.
During the event, a marquee tent housed the Open Access ‘Pop Up’ art exhibition shows casing the works of Albany’s young people. The majority of these masterpieces were available for purchase via a silent auction, with many selling. Additional features of the event involved face painting, balloon animals, the City of Albany sea container glow/dance space and the Albany’s Library offered outdoor games and a few selected games inside.
Following sunset, various projections were shown on a big screen. These included a special video dedication to Young House from John Butler and Mama Kin, a song about homelessness titled “Jenny”. This song has not previously been released, with this being the official launch. A historical slide show of Young House, youth arts projects including making of the Dog Rock ANZAC mural art installation and other studio activities were shown.