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Meet Andrew Turvey

4 September 2023

What is your name?

Andrew Turvey

How long have you been in Canberra Queanbeyan and what do you love about it?

This is my 15th year in Canberra/Queanbeyan after coming here at the end of 2022 to get married to my beautiful wife, Tania, at Lanyon Homestead. We then spent six years living in Conder before moving to Cootamundra between 2009 and 2014, then returning to live in Jerrabomberra in 2015. We returned to the region due to the opportunities it presented to our family as our children were moving to the final years of primary schooling and the Canberra region offered three fabulous opportunities for University education for them after secondary schooling.  It provided us the opportunity to support them through university without the additional costs associated with on-campus living.  Outside of this, we enjoy the lifestyle that the region offers, the lack of peak hour traffic, the chance of being able to work less than a 10-minute drive from home and the fact that everything you could need is on your doorstep. Having my parents move here last year has also demonstrated how well catered for we are with medical facilities and support – we are truly a city with everything, without the claustrophobic feel of our bigger counterparts.

How would you describe Together 4 Youth

Together4Youth is an organisation that was started due to the desire of a group of service providers to work collectively and improve the sector as a whole.  Our providers appreciate that, in effect, they are in ‘competition’ with each other, but they are all driven by the bigger picture of improving students’ outcomes rather than wrestling for turf.

Together4Youth works in the school space coordinating the delivery of wellbeing and transition to work programs – reducing the administrative burden that comes with utilising outside providers. Our approach also guarantees that knowledge is passed from provider to provider ensuring that the messaging is consistent and coordinated. It brings all the pieces together and allows students to grow in the wellbeing space. The Together4Youth approach grows with students, just as their curriculum grows with them in academic subjects.

Together4Youth is also about partnering with organisations to deliver better outcomes for individuals, schools and communities as a whole.  We are extremely excited to have been able to join together with The Fruit Box Group charity arm – The One Box – to link schools and families in need to The One Box and deliver quality fresh produce and staples ensuring that their kids have the right nutritional start to make the most of their learning in school.

What do you love about it?

The thing that most appeals to me about Together4Youth is the way in which it totally transforms the delivery of wellbeing in schools.  Our approach assists schools to provide coordinated wellbeing programs to students without the time and administrative constraints that currently exists.  After being in the school setting for 29 years and being a Principal for over 10 years I know how frustrating it is to be expected to do everything that is required for student growth without being given the support required to make this happen.  It is easy to say ‘schools should teach that’ but at what stage have schools been relieved of things to be taught? The Together4Youth approach allows schools to go back to the core job of teaching and learning as we pick up the organisation and administration along with ensuring that the programs are sequenced correctly, and we put in the final piece, getting the organisations to talk to each other so that we eliminate what sometimes appears to be contradictory information being provided to students.

Is there anything in your time at Together 4 Youth that you look at with a deep sense of pride?

What I’m most proud of about Together4Youth is how much we have achieved in such a short space of time.  Together4Youth began as a conversation between funders and service providers in the middle of 2020 and then I was appointed in mid-2021 to turn this discussion into a workable reality. By December 2021, we had in place six schools across the ACT, NSW, South Australia and Victoria to trial the T4Y approach to delivery of programs and a partnership with the University of New South Wales – Centre for Social Impact – to evaluate the approach. At the end of the year, we were overjoyed with the result and the feedback given. Comments from schools such as “Having Together4Youth on board greatly reduced our workload”, “Students from Years 7-12 benefitted from a variety of excellent programs that thanks to Andrew’s organisation, were integrated seamlessly into our busy calendar of events” and The programs were scheduled in a way that complimented the learning that was occurring in the school context and the flexibility and consultation with the school and staff was exemplary”, along with comments from students such as: “I can’t choose just one favourite part from the workshop, basically I love it all!” and “It is always ok to ask for help/reach out to someone even if it is just to have someone to listen”, has shown that we can make a real difference by coordinating the delivery of programs into schools.

Another exciting initiative that we are involved with is the rolling out of a community-wide approach in Queanbeyan and the South Coast during 2023. With this, we have listened to concerns that the communities have expressed with regard to behaviours that their young people are displaying in schools that are also occurring in sporting clubs and across the community. With our programs, we will be tackling issues present across schools and the wider community by working with the schools and community organisations.  I am excited by this as it really embraces that age-old philosophy of ‘taking a village to raise a child’ and it has such potential to make a real difference in the community.  By working together, better outcomes are achieved and when you work with organisations that see this bigger picture you get to be part of a real energy that sadly is rare in today’s competitive world.

For anyone thinking about donating or helping Together 4 Youth, what would you say to them?

After the past few years with COVID and lockdowns, I think people are realising that our kids have been impacted more than originally envisaged.  They are not the resilient, nothing will phase them individuals people thought they were. The social isolation and lack of routines are really being seen in their abilities to focus and concentrate on their academics.  Along with this, COVID has shown the real need to focus on personal wellbeing for all age groups and to be able to assist schools in coordinating the delivery of programs which in turn allows them to focus on their main role of teaching and learning – this has to be a win for our kids. By sequencing wellbeing into schools and prioritising it alongside the formal curriculum there is a chance we will be able to assist them to catch up on the years lost and not have schools continue to report that our kids are displaying behaviours not in alignment with their chronological age.

It takes funding and a strong volunteer base to provide assistance to schools and we would love to hear from organisations and/or individuals who can help us to continue this work.

Get in touch with Together 4 Youth here