Students get helping help
RENEE CHURCHILL and Keyarrah Delauney’s enlightening stories are just two of many in a room full of independent students.
The Disability and Aged Information Services Incorporated (DAISI) have helped these kids with clothing, food vouchers, school uniforms and more recently driving lessons.
Twenty students from around the region have been put through the Resilient Youth Program by DAISI and gained their provisional licences after numerous driving lessons.
These students have faced circumstances that have led them to part from parents or guardians and do not have the resources or the income to pay for the 10 lessons required as part of gaining their provisional licence.
Richmond River High student Keyarrah Delauney has been working towards her licence in the program for a year after being referred by local organisation Youth Connections.
“I had a very bad relationship with my family and I was forced to move out,” she said.
“DAISI helped me with accommodation, taught me how to budget and provided me with transport to school.
“I started the program one year ago, and without their help I would not know how to drive.
“I am almost ready to sit my driving test but I still need a bit more practise with my parking,” the 17-year-old said.
Keyarrah lives with another student in Lismore after first getting involved with DAISI and moving from Nimbin two years ago.
The Year 12 student knows how lucky she is to receive the help she has, but knows there are plenty of kids out there struggling.
“They really pushed me to stay in school and I know I still wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for DAISI.
“There is a waiting list of kids wanting help from the organisation, but there are not enough resources to go around.
“There are a lot of kids in need.”
The Resilient Youth Program started two years ago in Nimbin to accommodate the 17 independent students in the town.
Successful, it branched out in the region to students like Renee Churchill, who has just started her driving lessons.
“A friend introduced me to DAISI after my family moved to Coffs Harbour and I decided to stay and finish Year 12 here,” she said.
“Sometimes it is difficult but they have helped me a lot with food vouchers, school books, clothes and these driving lessons.”
Both girls can see the end of school looming and are excited to carry on studying.
DAISI CEO Dona Graham says the driving lesson program is not only helping independent students but makes a positive impact on the rate of P-plate driver accidents in the region.
“The funding allows them to get updated skills, not passed-on bad driving habits,” Mrs Graham said.
“One in eight P-plater drivers have their licence suspended and (out of) the 20 drivers that have got their licence through this program, not one of them has had their licence suspended.
“If they get the skills right the first time then they are more likely to keep using those skills.”
NSW learner drivers must log 120 driving hours before applying for P-plates.
The program is funded by the NSW Department of Transport and Infrastructure.
Thirty-seven children are on the waiting list for services from DAISI.