Marron,* 15, is a self-described wild child. He smoked his first cigarette at the age of 6 and tried marijuana at 8. His childhood was defined by instability. The family moved frequently and Marron had little contact with his dad, a heavy drinker.

Troubled and neglected, Marron started to hang out with the wrong crowd. He was kicked out of home at the age of 9 and became addicted to ice. Last year, he was arrested for armed robbery and served time in juvenile detention. On his release, he was referred to Mission Australia’s Junaa Buwa! in Coffs Harbour.

This inspirational, residential rehabilitation program acts early to help vulnerable and at-risk young people avoid a life behind bars.

It starts by addressing recognised risk factors for offending behaviour, such as alcohol and drug abuse, mental illness and family breakdown. Through positive mentoring and intensive support, young people are helped to overcome their problems, build resilience and find a new sense of purpose.

For Marron, it’s been life changing. He is now drug-free and is playing competitive football again. He’s a popular and integral part of the team. Healthy and confident, Marron is determined to go to TAFE and become a youth worker so he can help at-risk young people to stay out of trouble and detention and make positive choices in life.

Youth statistics

*Name has been changed to protect the privacy of the person we helped

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