Funding cuts threaten popular centre

Dreams shattered: Almost 100 young people may not be able to complete their education if Eagle Raps Inc closes in December. "These are not bad kids. They just need our help and the chance to become productive citizens," co-founder Sally Wynd said. Picture: Geoff Jones

Dreams shattered: Almost 100 young people may not be able to complete their education if Eagle Raps Inc closes in December. "These are not bad kids. They just need our help and the chance to become productive citizens," co-founder Sally Wynd said. Picture: Geoff Jones

A DOONSIDE non-profit organisation that provides an alternative for young people who would otherwise struggle in mainstream education could close.

Eagle Raps Inc needs to find $200,000 to reopen next year after funding from the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations program Youth Connections was axed.

Founded by Marten and Sally Wynd, Eagle Raps began 17 years ago as a youth drop-in centre before it took on its first student in 2003.

Since then, about 2000 young people have done their education through correspondence.

"It was our only source of funding, apart from community help," Mrs Wynd said. "A lot of people say we're a school for students with behavioral difficulties but we're not.

"We have a boy whose mum is ill with cancer, young mums with babies and a boy with a rare bone disease. It means more to the kids than to me because they have nowhere else to go."

A motion calling on Blacktown Council to write to relevant ministers and help find alternative funding for Eagle Raps was unanimously supported at last week's meeting.

Karley Tyrrell, 15, told the councillors how Eagle Raps changed her life.

"I hardly ever went to class and I didn't really do my work most of the time," she said.

"I'm really happy I found out about Eagle Raps because it made a better person and I've learned lots of stuff."

Edward Alofi is finishing his HSC and hopes to join the defence force.

"I would be on the streets, robbing people if it wasn't for Eagle Raps," he said.

"I feel bad for the other kids who may not get an opportunity to get their education."

Mrs Wynd has not given up and has appealed to the corporate sector for a helping hand.

"We ran Eagles Raps on a voluntary basis for the first 10 years," she said. "You don't put that much into it if you're not passionate about it. I'd shed a tear or two if we were to close."

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop