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Start the day the short course way

Breakfast is essential for Chantelle Kemble. The 17-year-old discovered that when undertaking a short course in hospitality near where she grew up in the suburb of Waterloo, where more than 70 per cent of housing is public. The course was only for nine weeks, but they were a long nine weeks for Chantelle, on the back of four rough years reports the South Sydney Herald in November 2009.

In those four years she was in and out of school. Troubles at home were disrupting her vision. She dropped in to South Sydney Youth Services (SSYS), a non-government youth services provider. She returned time and time again, when things got tough, on the home front, at school. She tried to get back into the school. Mardi Angelopolos and Janelle Ghazi from SSYS gave it a number of shots. But it wasn’t going to happen.

So a young teenage girl, estranged from school, was wandering Redfern and Waterloo, skating at the park to eat up time. “She was hanging out not doing much,” Shane Brown of the SSYS said. “That can always lead to trouble.”

A training centre in hospitality, located over the tracks in Darlington was running courses. It could be the start of something new.

“She had heard about Yaama Dhiyaan but she didn’t seem interested when we mentioned it,” Ms Angelopolos said. “Then something changed this year, and she decided to do it. She didn’t want to go back to school, and her uncle owns a restaurant, and it’s a short course, so it’s not something to be overwhelmed by.”

Everyday of the course SSYS picked up Chantelle and took her to the Darlington location. It soon became apparent that the breakfast Chantelle wasn’t getting at home, wherever that was, was much needed. “We realised that if she ate well in the morning, she was much more productive throughout her day,” Ms Angelopolos said.

Chantelle graduated from the Yaama Dhiyaan Hospitality Operations course two weeks ago [mid October]. The training college is an initiative of the Redfern-Waterloo Authority. Chantelle received a Certificate II for her efforts, as well as Responsible Service of Alcohol and Responsible Conduct of Gaming accreditations, and Barista (coffee) training.

Not only that, she found herself her first job, working in the kitchen of her uncle’s restaurant in Bondi Junction. “The transformation has been really visible,” Shane said after Chantelle secured the job. “She has so much confidence in herself now. She’s back on track.”

Photo: Chantelle Kemble and Mardi Angelopolos