Streetlight’s co-founder, Ben Rowe, and Project Manager, Jessica Ferdinands, are the inaugural recipients of Playford’s Active Citizenship and Young Citizenship Award. The duo is active in the community connecting and empowering young people to reach their full potential.
Ben and his wife, Anni, established Streetlight about six years ago and continue to offer a safe place for local youth to hang out at the Elizabeth City Centre and local skateparks. “I fundamentally believe our life is best lived when we are living it for others,” Ben said.
Streetlight prides itself on creating an engaging atmosphere where young people gather to interact and build relationships. “It’s the opportunity to get them connected into different services, get them engaged in school, engaged in employment and just succeeding in life,” Ben said. “Seeing they have value, they have potential and they’ve got a sense of purpose in life. That is at the heart of the whole service we provide – a sense of believing in people that others perhaps haven’t.”
During this time up to 80 volunteers have been trained to help mentor young people. One of those mentors is Jessica Ferdinands who joined the program about two years ago.
From running an art therapy program to coordinating Street Eats, a free virtual cooking program to help young people in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jessica has been influential in supporting Playford youth. “I had it on my heart to start up a cooking program for young people, so they could learn a healthy skill – but also engage in a positive community in the midst of lockdown,” Jessica said. “Each Monday we would drop ingredients off to young people’s doorsteps and then we would all hop online, and we would learn how to cook a healthy meal together.”
Jessica has also helped in the recruitment of new volunteers, successfully applied for grants and coordinated first aid and mental health training. Jessica said being involved in Streetlight has completely changed her life.
For more information on the great work of Streetlight visit streetlightcommunity.org