TAKING A RESTORATIVE APPROACH TOWARDS YOUTH ISSUES

The conventional solution to teenage delinquency such as punishment or incarceration, more often, serves to distance youths-at-risk from the rest of the community. Rather than placing the blame on these youths and creating an environment of animosity and resentment, Youth United (a programme under Beyond Social Services) adopted a whole-of-community approach in building a restorative neighbourhood. This approach accentuates the importance for the entire community to come together to understand the needs of these youths and their caregivers, hear different perspectives and tackle the issue collectively. This is achieved by creating a safe space to address the fractious issues through open discussions between the youths, their families and the community.

Photo credits: M1 Peer Pleasure Youth Theatre Festival 2019

Amongst the various methods to build a restorative neighbourhood, Youth United utilises creative platforms such as forum theatre performances to catalyse meaningful dialogues about community concerns. For instance, a play featuring disadvantaged youths, “Young and Sleepless” examined the issue of late-night loitering in the neighbourhood. Following the play, there was an open discussion between the actors, partner organisations and audience on the prevalence of late-night loitering and building a holistic perspective towards the complexities surrounding these issues. These community theatres have not only developed protective factors in the community, but also allowed disadvantaged youths to gain exposure to theatre and build social consciousness. These series of forum theatre performances were made possible through collaborations with ArtsWok Collective and various community partners working together to highlight shared concerns within the neighbourhood. For more information on Youth United and how you can support their programmes and disadvantaged youths as a partner, donor or volunteer, visit  http://www.beyond.org.sg/programmes/.