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Facilitator Will Small (in MMAD Tshirt) with participants Andrew, Dylan and Marilyn. Facilitator Will Small (in MMAD Tshirt) with participants Andrew, Dylan and Marilyn. Featured
10 April 2018 Posted by 

YOUNG PEOPLE CHANGING THEIR LIVES

Being MADD makes the difference
TERRY COLLINS
YOUNG people on the Central Coast are MMAD with joy following an injection of funds from the state government for an organisation dedicated to helping youth make their lives remarkable.

Musicians Making A Difference (MMAD) uses the power of music, dance and mentoring to inspire young people, especially those who have suffered emotional abuse, neglect and disadvantage, to overcome their challenges, break negative cycles and make a difference within the community.

And a healthy $49,000 boost from the government under the Youth Opportunities grants program is set to make the group’s latest project, Street Poets, an overwhelming success.

Founded 17 years ago on the coast by CEO Dominic Brook, MMAD had small beginnings, with meetings for around 20 young people held in a school hall and plans for an annual camp to connect youngsters from traumatised and disadvantaged backgrounds with adults who believed in their potential.

Today, the organisation has an attractive headquarters in Mann St, Gosford, complete with recording studio and performance space, and works with 20,000 young people nationwide – around 5000 of them right here on the coast, where it all began.

Facilitator Will Small said while music was the primary tool used in the program, its main brief had always been about mentoring.

“We still run our annual 351 camp every year in multiple locations,” Mr Small said. “Last year it was on the Gold Coast – this year it will be in Melbourne,” he said.

Mr Small, who came on board three years ago, said the organisation now held multiple workshops and events year-round, with money raised from hiring out its sound studio and profits from regular nights of entertainment held in its performance space, The Lounge Room, going straight back into funding the multiple programs, all of which are free for participants.

“We are not only about music, but about giving the kids all sorts of creative outlets, as well as experience in such things as music production and even hospitality, as they help serve refreshments at our performances,” he said.

One of the organisations most popular regular activities is Speak Up, a monthly evening of original poetry performance held at The Lounge Room.

From that sprung the Street Poets project, a full-length theatre show to be presented later this year at The lounge Room, the Wyong Art House and assorted other venues around the Coast.

“I will oversee the project, being a poet myself, but the content will be youth driven,” Mr Small said.

“It will be a full theatrical event incorporating music, poetry, acting and film, spearheaded by 10 of our young people who have overcome various obstacles from homelessness to low self esteem to emerge as young leaders within the organisation.”

Mr Small said the $49,000 grant would go a long way towards making the project a success.

“This funding will allow us to engage with young people in a creative and empowering way that will not only develop them as emerging artists, but as community leaders,” he said.
How MADD saved Dylan

MMAD success story Dylan, 19, reckons he would be dead or in jail by now if it weren’t for the organisation.

“A few years ago I was in a deep, dark place,” he said. “I was hanging out with the wrong people, involved in substance abuse and crime.”

A former teacher told Dylan about MMAD and since joining the group a little over two years ago he has turned his life around.

“In April I will have been clean from drugs, alcohol and smoking for two years and it is more than a year since I self-harmed,” he said. “I have learnt how to work on myself.”

So successful has Dylan’s transformation been that he is now one of the young leaders at doing it without realising – forever scribbling notes in the backs of school books.”

These days, Andrew is one of the most popular performers at the regular Speak Up nights.

Learn more about MMAD at: www.mmad.org.au

 
 

 



editor

Michael Walls
Publisher
P: 0407 783 413
E: Michael@accessnews.com.au

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