Help for troubled kids

A CENTRE helping put troubled teens back on track is proving a huge success in Griffith.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE: The team at the Griffith Re-engagement Centre.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE: The team at the Griffith Re-engagement Centre.

The city's Re-Engagemnet Centre (REC) has been operating for around 12 months and aims to support disengaged students return to mainstream schooling.

Yesterday, during a special open day, Griffith High School principal Charlie Cochrane said the centre, a combined initiative between Wade High School, Griffith High School and a host of other organisations, caters to around 40 young people of compulsory school age, who do not attend school on a regular basis.

"This open day is really a big thank you to all of our supporters," Mr Cochrane said.

"This has been a real partnership between many locals organisations. New Choices with Youth Connections has most recently come on board.

"We have identified 40 kids who are habitual offenders and don't come to school.

"Traditional methods of engaging these young people have proven ineffective.

"This is non-traditional schooling and it is working."

REC is located on the old Kalinda School site and is broken into three different programs, the suspension centre, re-engagement centre and new choices.

"Our goal is for all of our students to develop a "toolkit" of strategies which can enable them to take more effective control of their lives," Mr Cochrane said.

"The (REC) provides an alternative with the opportunity to re-engage in education, training and with their community thereby reducing the incidence of anti-social and illegal activity in our community."

Acting director public schools NSW Lilian Dowell said she was pleased to see REC having such an impact in Griffith.

"I appreciate that the two high school principals saw the need for such a centre," she said.

"They came up with it and showed leadership to get everyone on board. It's their passion for the kids that did it."