Paint brushes

Creative Youth Initiative (CYI) - Mission Australia Centre (MAC)

Employment, Education & Training

Surry Hills, 2010

Creative Youth Initiative (CYI) is a holistic, strengths based service that offers young people aged 16-25 the opportunity to engage in TAFE accredited creative programs while receiving tailored social support. CYI offers two full time core programs, Artworks & Sounds of the Street (SOTS) as well as a support service (case management, goal setting, counselling, referral and exit planning) to provide the young person the best chance for them to learn creative skills and learn how to address their social, emotional, physical, spiritual and mental wellbeing needs. Young people learn how to create art, music and new lives.

Search the service directory

Creative Youth Initiative (CYI), is a unique service that provides free creative programs for young people aged 16-25 who are facing many and varied challenges in their lives, which include but are not limited to:

  • Homelessness
  • Mental health issues
  • Substance abuse
  • Family breakdown
  • Unemployment
  • Poor educational experiences
  • Youth at risk with the law

Based in Surry Hills, near Sydney’s centre, CYI helps young people develop their creativity through visual arts and music. This, in turn, builds self-esteem, encourages self-expression and provides positive learning experiences in a safe and supportive environment. In addition, it provides young people with the opportunity to access free training programs run in partnership with TAFE as well as personalised individual support.

A Student Support Coordinator offers ongoing support and goal planning to students during their time in the program and helps them find employment or enrol in further studies upon graduation. The Student Support Coordinator can also connect young people with other services such as suitable accommodation, drug support or counsellors as needed.

CYI consists of two semester-long programs run concurrently:

Sounds of the Street (SOTS)

SOTS is a 20-week TAFE accredited music course that teaches students to compose, perform and record their own music. They also have the opportunity to learn an instrument. The students’ music is professionally mixed and mastered with students performing their compositions at the annual album launch.


Artworks! is a twelve-month visual arts program that provides materials, skilled one-on-one and group tuition, and a safe place to explore creativity. Students explore and experiment with various mediums including painting, sketching, sculpture, life drawing, spray art and graphic design. Works are exhibited in an annual art exhibition and students can receive commissions from public and corporate entities.

Who we assist

We assist young people, aged 16-25 years who are facing many and varied challenges in their lives, such as homelessness, mental health issues, substance abuse, family breakdown, unemployment & disengagement from education.

Eligibility criteria

We assist young people who are at risk of disengaging from themselves and society, aged between 16-25 , interested in art/music, managing or willing to work with the Student Support Co-ordinator to manage issues affecting their wellbeing such as mental health, AOD, family breakdown, behaviour etc.

Referral process

Creative Youth Initiative can be accessed by self referrals or can be referrals by other agencies by contacting the service by phone, in person or via email.

Creative Youth Initiative (CYI) - Mission Australia Centre (MAC) location

Contact us

19 Denham Street Surry Hills NSW 2010
Phone number
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Opening hours

9-5 Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday

Services nearby

See more services

Our founding purpose - 'Inspired by Jesus Christ, Mission Australia exists to meet human need and to spread the knowledge of the love of God'