The Founder of Street Level Youth Care was Dr HARALD FALGE who was a Chiropractor in Cairns. Harald is Married to Sally and have three children and a number of grandchildren.
In 1991 whilst Sally and Harald were taking their children on a regular walk along the Esplanade, they were astounded to see the amount of 21 and under children and youth roaming around the night without supervision. There were a lot of muggings, break and enters and children prostituting themselves to order to get food or shelter. There were those that felt a kick up the behind might help, but the issues go far beyond that. There were a couple of agencies that provided very limited shelter and other services, however, they only worked office hours. There was no service after hours, weekends or public holidays that could provide food and blankets etc... There had to be a solution to eliminate crime for food.
Harald, Sally and the family discussed the situation amongst themselves and with members of the Cairns Baptist Church. It was decided that they would set up an outreach to meet the needs of the street kids. However, they were unsure on how to let them know of the service. The day after the decision was made, Harald was approached by his secretary as there was a street kid in the surgery who had no money but had back pain and wondered if Harald would treat him without charge. Harald agreed to treat the boy and whilst he was in there Harald told him what he wanted to do. The street kid was excited and then informed other street kids of being able to get a meal and so in 1991 Street Level Youth Care started.
The family started cooking and would take the food down to the Esplanade. The church also started cooking meals to make them available to the children/youth on the streets. They were all eagerly waiting for their meals. Initially they were feeding the children/youth on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, and in November 1991 this was increased to seven nights a week.
We then started getting volunteers one at first then a few months later there was another one and so it continued. Our first volunteer stayed to help Harald for eight years but he had to retire due to his health.
From the early beginnings, the dedicated team made a difference in the lives of the homeless and disadvantaged children/youth 21 and under on the street of Cairns.
Street Level Youth Care runs totally by donations from Individuals and some Businesses in Cairns. Street Level Youth Care does not get any Government funding or Corporate funding.
Since Street Level Youth Care’s inception it has worked with over 9,700 Individual young people under the age of 21 years with an average of 15.5 years. Over 82,500 meals were given out, 126,000 cups of milo, coffee, tea were made and 208,300 litres of cordial were consumed. There was also a significant number of pies, sausage rolls and other items that have been donated over the time. There was also thousands of cartons and bottles of flavoured milk, 8,500 new blankets given out and numerous second hand ones. Our aim is to provide all attendees to the van a hot cooked meal.
There were 122,000 hours spent by the volunteers on the van.
The commercial value of the food items were about $962,000
The running costs per month are $2500.00
All this is only possible because of the generosity of the people of and Cairns, its suburbs and surrounding areas, the various chapters of the, Lioness Clubs, the Lions clubs, the Rotary Clubs. The Scope and Rotaract Club and Scope club have also contributed.
The van which used to visit the Esplanade and now visits Kahlu Park, Little Fretwell Park, Fuller Park, Cairns City Library, seven nights a week. We visit Machin Beach, Holloways Beach, Yorkies Knob, Trinity Beach, three nights a week. We provide hot meals, beverages hot and cold, blankets and other items as donated. The team when appropriate refers the clients to other agencies for professional help.
By going into the suburbs of Cairns, we are trying to where possible help the young people stay at home. There are parents that send their children to the Street Level Youth Care Van in order to get a meal into them as they are unable to provide for them.
Roy and Suzanne Edwards took over the running of Street Level Youth Care on the 8th of September 2013 and have increased the coverage including the locations and the number of children/youth 21 and under that currently attend our van every night.
SLYC is made up of Christian Volunteers. We see the problems of our street kids (homeless or otherwise) as a community issue. Rather than relying on Government Hand outs, we are raising our own support from Churches and through private sector involvement,including individual involvement.
We are working towards a local solution by providing food, shelter (as far as our resources permit), clothing, advice and friendship and by bringing the reality to the whole of the community. Street level youth care exists to assist young people in need, providing food and other emergency services, general care and through promoting in them a sense of self-worth and guiding them in a positive direction. Our policy is to be non-judgmental and non-discriminatory, working within personal relationships based on Trust and mutual Respect.
To be effective in this ministry, we will train and deploy volunteer workers to make contact with and assist young people in need, on the streets and in their related environments.
We seek the integrated involvement of the whole community.
Our Main Objectives include:
Street Level Youth Care started on the 1st of September 1991, by providing meals to the homeless and disadvantaged 21 and under a couple days a week.
We increased this to seven nights a week since the 1st of November 1991. We have been going out on the streets of Cairns seven nights a week ever since.
Our first Location was opposite the Police Station on the Esplanade (Now Coast Roast Café).
Our first volunteers didn’t come until October 1992 and more joined in February 1993. Up until this time Harald and his family provided meals to the homeless and disadvantaged youth of Cairns from the boot of his car.
In 1993 Street Level Youth Care moved further up the Esplanade to outside the Aquarius building.
In 1994 Street Level Youth Care purchased our first van and fitted it out for our needs. This was purchased with donations.
In 1995 the Cairns City Council moved us up to being diagonally from the RSL Club on the Esplanade.
In 2004 The Cairns City Council moved us to Munro Martin Park so that they were able to develop the Cairns Esplanade.
On the 8th of September 2013 Harald officially resigned from Street Level Youth Care after 22 years of service and handed the reins over to Roy and Suzanne Edwards. Roy and Suzanne Edwards have been involved in Street Level Youth Care since February 2013.
In June 2013 we went down to White Rock, Bentley Park, Edmonton, three nights a week. This was in addition to the seven nights a week in Munro Martin Park.
On the 2nd of February 2014 we increased the area of coverage seven nights a week to Kahlu Park in White Rock, Little Fretwell Park in Bentley Park, Fuller Park in Edmonton and Munro Martin Park in Cairns