Crowds of local children enjoyed an end of year celebration thrown by Mount Isa PCYC on December 7 at Minnie Davis Park.
Safe Communities Coordinator (SCC) Leanne Joseph said it was a great opportunity for the community to come together and share something special.
“During this time of year it can be hard for some families to live up to the expectations of society when it comes to Christmas,” Ms Joseph said.
“Our goal was to make it special for those that may not get to spend Christmas the way other families do or how they would have hoped for.”
Children celebrated at their own Christmas party, with loads of activities and food provided.
Special guests included a team of Dog Squad officers who volunteered their afternoon to talk to kids about their work with drug detection dogs.
Army Major Jeremy Barraclough and two soldiers showed off their army truck and talked to the kids about their work.
Mount Isa Police officers joined in a game of tug-o-war, and were challenged to take on the rest of the party – who beat them fair and square.
Of course, no Christmas celebration would be complete without a sighting of the man in red.
“The kids couldn’t stop asking when Santa was going to arrive. With the support of Mount Isa Police, Santa even got a special police escort,” Ms Joseph said.
Minnie Davis Park has been the setting for the regular PCYC event ‘Chillin in the Park’, a police initiative aimed at positively engaging youth in the Mount Isa community.
Ms Joseph said it was one of several initiatives set in motion after the PCYC Breakfast of Champions in February, where more than 80 community members and leaders discussed issues affecting Mount Isa.
"The main issues were youth disengagement, both in education and after hours services,” Ms Joseph said.
“This was a result of a lack of engagement activities provided after hours, lack of motivation to achieve in school due to basic living needs not being met, lack of transport facilities available, and a lack of parental responsibility around the importance of schooling.”
Ms Joseph said SCC’s community programs this year have focused on early intervention responses.
One such program is RISE, specifically for girls, which stands for Respect, Integrity, Support and Empower. RISE aims to enhance young women’s positive sense of self, boosting confidence and resilience.
“It was a positive experience to watch the young women engage in activities they may have never had the opportunity to do before, and utilise the skills they learnt as part of their every day,” Joseph said.
Here’s to many more instances of positive engagement for Mount Isa’s youth in 2018.