Ride for Youth 2009

YouthFocus.gifYouth suicide, depression and self harm are very real problems in our society but we don’t often hear the shocking statistics. Thankfully, Youth Focus is committed to helping young people and their families

Youth Focus is a Western Australian, non-profit organisation with expertise in providing practical and effective support for young people, 12-18 years of age who are showing early signs associated with suicide, depression and deliberate self-harm as well as providing support for their families.

Youth Focus has been established for well over a decade and operates within both metropolitan and regional areas, servicing more than 600 young people each year and supporting some 160 families. In the last two years there has been a significant increase in demand for these services. As a consequence, Youth Focus has been unable to offer assistance to an additional 240 young people each year who seek their help. It is believed that this number will continue to grow.

This Monday a group of men and women will set out on a five-day bike ride from Albany to Perth to raise funds for Youth Focus in the prevention of youth suicide, depression and deliberate self-harm. One of those cyclists, Stephen Carmody, joined me in the studio today to talk about what the ride will achieve.

Stephen says he got involved several years ago after a close experience with suicide.

Witnessing the tragedy, despair and impact from the suicide of son’s good friend five years ago lead me to want to do something to prevent any avoidable loss of our young people.

The value of services such as Youth Focus cannot be underestimated. The training, teamwork and demands of the fundraising and the ride have been so personally enriching – I’m getting older but feeling younger.

You can hear my conversation with Stephen about Youth Focus and the Ride for Youth by clicking the play button on the Audio Player at the bottom of this post.


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Unforgivable Sin

Forgiveness.jpgHow far is too far?

Can a deed be so dark that there’s no pardon or forgiveness from God?

While we don’t seem to hear people talking about sin so much these days we still know that there are things that cross the line.

Can we be forgiven for murder? Are sexual crimes unforgivable? Is there forgiveness for the increasing number of people facing child pornography charges?

Does forgiveness mean that people no longer have to face the consequences of their actions?

My regular Wednesday morning guest on 98.5 Sonshine FM is Ross Clifford who is the Principal of Morling College in New South Wales and current President of the Baptist Union of Australia. Each week we chat about a range of issues relating to spirituality and belief.

Today we tackled the subject of unforgivable sin.

Ross talked about the many calls he gets from people asking if they can ever be forgiven for the things they’ve done. Many people call his Sydney radio show asking whether suicide is forgivable.

One woman spoke to Ross about having a harsh conversation with her son. When she visited his home the next day she found his body. He had committed suicide. The woman wanted to know if she could be forgiven for the harsh words she’d spoken and whether her so would be forgiven for taking his own life.

I’ve heard people say that God could never forgive the terrible things they’ve done and I wonder whether it’s likely that their sense of unforgiveness comes from an inability to forgive themselves.

You can hear what Ross had to say by clicking play on the audio player at the bottom of this post.

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