Turning page: Youth program developer Peter Hamann with chef Adrian Wright.
Turning page: Youth program developer Peter Hamann with chef Adrian Wright. Crystal Spencer

Ex-con to help Tweed's youth

A REFORMED ex-con says he wants to give back to the community with a program to help troubled youth.

He says he has the support of well-known political activist and philanthropist Bob Geldof.

The program is the brainchild of Tweed resident Peter Hamann, who knows what it's like to need a second chance, having served a prison term for armed robbery.

“I know what it's like to be a lost kid,” Mr Hamann said. “I used to be in gangs, and all I needed was good support to get on the right track.”

His planned program, to be known as One Journey, will cover aspects of youth leadership, development and mental health.

Its primary goal is to let young people living on the edge know they have choices in life.

“Troubled kids still have the chance to live life by choice and not chance,” Mr Hamann said.

Mr Hamann developed the program in prison while he was studying social work.

“It took a couple of years to kick-start the program, but now, with the possibility of funding, it can really get up and running,” he said.

Mr Hamann met Bob Geldof at a breakfast in Brisbane promoting the GenerationOne movement.

“Sir Bob reckons my program is great,” Mr Hamann said.

“According to him I have a big heart, and more people should get behind the program.”

The youth program would include a workshop at an eight-bedroom house in Cobaki.

A four day-and-night workshop is planned at which members of the community will be invited to talk with the participants' each night.

After the workshop has ended, Mr Hamann plans to remain in contact with participants one day a week for four to six weeks. He will involve them in community service activities, such as visiting aged-care facilities and mowing people's lawns.

“All of this will build and sustain relationships with youths and the community,” Mr Hamann said.

Mr Hamann has also organised with his friend and chef Adrian Wright to conduct cooking classes during the workshop, and participants will receive gym passes.

Mr Hamann said he was in consultation with local youth workers to nominate kids to take part in the program.

“We really do have good community support,” Mr Hamann said.

“Kids around here have made some big mistakes, but it's our responsibility as the adults and community to teach them the right way.”

Mr Hamman says he is determined to get the program going with or without government funding, and hopes to run a pilot program in the coming weeks.

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