In a trendy inner-Sydney venue, eight young people from our Creative Youth Initiative Sounds of the Street program nervously waited for their turn in the spotlight.

They were performing their latest musical compositions, songs which have been written for their new album titled "TIPS".

The musical acts covered a variety of genres from hip-hop to gospel, rock to rap.

Following the musical acts in which the students performed their own songs live with a tutor-led backing band, they were handed their certificates of completion.

In addition to family members, friends and supporters, plenty of Mission Australia staff were there cheering the students on, including CEO James Toomey, and Executive, Chaplaincy, Fundraising and Marketing Paul Molyneux.

Mission Australia Content Coordinator Gracie Fairfax said the event really showcased the young peoples' talents.

"Every artist was so passionate and had their own unique style. They worked really hard to get to this point and I thoroughly enjoyed watching their confidence on stage. You could tell they were proud to perform their original pieces in front of friends, family and Mission Australia staff."

About the program

The young artists aged between 16 and 25 regularly met at the underground recording studio at Mission Australia Centre in Surry Hills for six months to compose, rehearse and record their pieces. Although only eight students from last year’s group performed, 14 students graduated on the night.

While undertaking studies with a TAFE outreach music program and creating their compositions, the students also faced a range of complex challenges including homelessness, mental health issues, substance abuse, social isolation, bullying, family breakdown and unemployment.

Program Manager, Diana Jazic explains the initiative encourages young people to harness their musical talents as a medium and tool for change.

"We encourage the students to experiment with a range of processes including lyric writing, song structure, music software technology, and sound engineering to create their own original compositions. Those who attend our program have an opportunity to embrace their creativity and musical prowess in a free, safe and supportive environment."

Rem's story

One of the many inspiring students is 22 year old Rem Jawi. Rem is currently living in transitional accommodation after experiencing homelessness for nine months. Her case worker linked her up with Mission Australia's Sounds of the Streets program.

While involved with the program, Rem experimented with producing and recording online to compose and record her own composition called "Elhoim" which is based on the Hebrew word 'Elohim' for 'God Almighty'.

"I love music, especially gospel, so I thought "Why not?". It's a good opportunity!"

This program is transformational for many young people, as Diana Jazic will attest to.

"Rem's gained a great deal of confidence; her self-esteem has increased. She has a beautiful voice, is a talented musician, and those artistic skills have been harnessed and developed," Diana said.

You can read more about Rem’s powerful story as reported by SBS news.

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