Who is Father Chris Riley
Father Chris Riley AM, Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Youth Off The Streets, has worked with disadvantaged youth for more than 40 years in a variety of roles including teacher, youth worker, probation officer, residential carer, principal and CEO. Father Chris officially founded Youth Off The Streets in 1991.
As CEO of Youth Off The Streets, Father Chris oversees the operation of over 35 programs that employ over 200 staff and involve more than 400 volunteers. He has implemented innovative behaviour modification strategies to help young people deal with a history of trauma, abuse and neglect. He has grown the organisation from a single food van delivering meals to young homeless people on the streets of Kings Cross to a major youth specific agency providing a wide range of services such as crisis accommodation, independent schools, residential treatment programs, centres for youth, Aboriginal programs, and early intervention and prevention programs into troubled suburbs through an outreach service.
Many of these strategies have been adopted by schools across Australia and by Government agencies. Father Chris believes there is no such thing as a “child born bad”, but acknowledges that there are bad environments, circumstances and families that impact negatively on our young. “We must have the courage to demand greatness from our youth.”
Words from Father Chris Riley
Looking at the increase in programs and the comprehensive nature of the programs is a real tribute to Dr. John and his many volunteers. The programs touch the most human of basic needs and delivery of the programs nurture and lift people up. Governments talk about the concept of “social inclusion” however I don’t believe they have any concept of how you articulate this in reality. Carevan have articulated the concept of social inclusion as it offers meals, dental help, care packs, nutritional meals, company, compassion and the many other activities. I believe the greatest human need is the need to belong. This is the fundamental aim of Carevan.
The three hundred volunteers have helped to turned their towns into communities who care. Many would be surprised that so many people volunteer; not me. I know Australians as generous giving people, who just need someone to lead them. Congratulations to Dr. John for being the one who had the dream, to the many volunteers and staff who ensure that dream is delivered every day and to those who attend and utilize the services of Carevan. We admire your courage and strength, we are privileged to be part of your community and family.