From left to right: BSL Youth Pathways Coordinator Al Taf with excited new learner drivers Lencho, trainer Linda, Mareen, Bahara and Kershma at Carlton.
Youth Services Coordinator Al Taf recently joined the Brotherhood of Saint Laurence (BSL) team and as part of his role, coordinates their Youth Pathways Program.
It was in this capacity that he organised the first Changing Gears program of 2024, held at the bustling BSL Broadmeadows offices.
Al Taf follows the Changing Gears program with interest
Head Trainer Linda Jane was greeted by Al Taf’s colleague Ash as she arrived to work with the young people gathered there. The group plunged into developing a safe driving attitude and was well placed to learn the road rules the following day.
During the week, Al Taf followed the progress of the group with interest. “I have heard of the Changing Gears program but never actually experienced it,” he explained to Linda.
“You are in for a treat,” Linda replied, “I’ve been delivering the program at BSL for over ten years and it’s truly stunning to see what your students are achieve on the test day.”
BSL extends a helping hand
Although new to the role, Al Taf responded wonderfully to an urgent request from Anglicare. He graciously allowed their client Jaiden to join the BSL group.
Jaiden and his Youth Worker, Rebecca were really grateful as it allowed the young man to obtain his learner permit in order to take advantage of an apprenticeship he’d been offered.
The group worked hard at learning the road rules and sharing the road with others and by the morning of the test, had all been very well prepared by Linda.
The calming of nerves
Recent immigrant Bahara was extremely nervous before her test. But her fears were put to rest as Linda helped her with breathing exercises and explained that the body experiences the same physiological symptoms when both afraid and excited.
“That means, all you’ve really got to do is decide you are excited and your body will support you,” Linda explained.
VicRoads supports students
VicRoads team member, Bromwyn, provided additional support and encouraged Bahara when she went into the testing area.
It was just a short while later, that Bromwyn was delighted to announce to Bahara that she had passed. Tears of joy streamed down the young woman’s face causing Linda to cry as well.
“Oh, now you two, you’ve made me cry as well!” Bromwyn added as Linda high fived, Bahara then Jaiden and all the other successful learner permit test sitters.
Al Taf sees students soar
“I’d never experienced the program before, but now I can really see and feel what it does for our young people!” Al Taf added.
“Yes,” Linda agreed, “Jaiden will be able to start his apprenticeship and all of the other students will be able to begin to drive and seek employment. I wonder Bahara, what will you look forward to now you’ve achieved this milestone?”
Bahara, was full of possibilities as she thanked Linda, Bromwyn and Al Taf profusely.
“My future looks so bright,” she commented.
A wonderful partnership
Without the hard work of Al Taf and BSL in partnership with VicRoads and Changing Gears, many young people would not have access to this tried and tested method for attaining this significant milestone.
"I look forward to your next program!” Al Taf commented. And so do we Al Taf!
Excited Student Bahara at Carlton VicRoads with Al Taf from BSL (left).
Possibilities open up
Driving opens up so many possibilities for disadvantaged young people. Classes are supportive, students and trainers inspire each other, showing the way for young people to overcome their obstacles to driving and experience success.
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Call 1800 766 361 to find out more about Changing Gears.