Centre offers support for students

Switched on: ACU equity pathways national manager Catherine O'Donnell and Marist Youth Centre chief executive Cate Sydes with Patrician Brothers Blacktown students Giovanni Leota, 16, Jonah Metuangaro, 16, and Joe Vaegaau, 17. Picture: Gene Ramirez

Switched on: ACU equity pathways national manager Catherine O'Donnell and Marist Youth Centre chief executive Cate Sydes with Patrician Brothers Blacktown students Giovanni Leota, 16, Jonah Metuangaro, 16, and Joe Vaegaau, 17. Picture: Gene Ramirez

"THE dog ate it" is no longer an excuse for teenagers who need help with homework and don't have access to a computer at home.

Marist Youth Care launched its ONE (Our New Environment) learning and education support centre in Blacktown on Friday.

At the launch, Blacktown police Superintendent Gary Merryweather and other community leaders said they supported the centre.

Established in partnership with the Australian Catholic University, the centre aims to promote pathways to higher education.

The education centre will provide literacy and numeracy workshops, academic programs and social and living skills programs — all in an easily accessible, safe and friendly environment run by volunteers.

Marist Youth Care chief executive Cate Sydes saw a "huge" need for the centre.

"I was concerned about feedback we were getting from young people through our Com4unity program," she said.

"A lot of kids come from non-English-speaking backgrounds and don't have access to computers at home, so they don't have the support they often need to do homework."

The ONE centre has been open for a few weeks.

"It's an asset to the kids, where they can use the computers and get help from teachers and mentors about how to structure their essays and other assignments," Ms Sydes said.

"We want more kids to stay in school and think about pathways to higher education.

"We have created a great environment that participants can enjoy."

There are plans for ONE to remain open during school holidays for workshops on study preparation and exam techniques.

The ONE Centre is open 3pm-7pm weekdays, Jim Simpson Lane, near Westpoint.

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