BIG PLANS: New Youth Development Worker Leon Jones hopes to get the Stanthorpe Youth Centre back up and running.
BIG PLANS: New Youth Development Worker Leon Jones hopes to get the Stanthorpe Youth Centre back up and running. Ella Archibald-Binge

Leon knows about hard life

WHEN it comes to helping youth who are doing it tough, Leon Jones has had the most practical training available.

The new youth development worker at Community Development Services spent most of his teenage years as a "streetie" in the notorious areas around Logan Central and Fortitude Valley in Brisbane.

A "frightening reality check" just before he turned 18 prompted Mr Jones to turn his life around, and by the time he reached his 20s he had moved into youth work.

"I approached the local TAFE in regards to a youth work course, but after attending an interview with the facilitator it was suggested that the course wasn't necessary and I was referred to a local youth homeless shelter for an interview," he said.

"If there was one thing I knew well, it was youth homelessness."

Mr Jones worked his way up to a managerial position with his previous employer before relocating to Stanthorpe for a lifestyle change.

He said there was no "one size fits all" approach when it came to helping young people.

"Every person's different," the 32-year-old said.

"There's no formula - you need individualised care."

Mr Jones is already working on his first local project - re-opening the doors at the Stanthorpe Youth Centre.

He said the centre would provide a centralised outlet where young people could receive multi-faceted care, guidance, assistance and support.

Anyone interested in helping get this project off the ground should phone CDS on 4681 3777.

Stanthorpe Border Post

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