febfast 2019 calls Australians to give up a ‘vice’ to raise funds for disadvantaged youth
Australia’s longest-running month-long fundraising challenge is back, with a target set to help thousands of disadvantaged youth nationwide.
In its 12-year history, febfast has reached out to tens of thousands young Australians, stepping in and providing support and advocacy where it is needed the most. Spearheaded by the Youth Support + Advocacy Service (YSAS), the challenge is unique on different levels. Firstly, it is the only initiative of its kind whose end focus is disadvantaged youth; secondly, it gives participants the choice of which ‘vice’ to hit pause on: the usual culprits – alcohol, unhealthy food, sugar, inactivity – or any other random choice.
The results, too, are manifold. The thousands who take up the challenge find themselves the better for it: happier, healthier, and more productive; and the youth at the heart of it all benefit even more.
The premise and underlying inspiration of the febfast challenge is the tremendous impact that can result from small, simple changes.
This year, febfast’s target is 3500 new participants. Each participant is asked to raise funds. If a participant raised $287, then this amount of money can provide a vulnerable young person with safe accommodation for one night, offering a rare chance of respite.
YSAS, through febfast, sets itself the goal of reaching more and more disadvantaged youth each year, and the need for increasing support towards the cause is all too apparent. More than 50% of the youth in question grapple with family issues relating to violence, neglect or parental mental illness. Around 60% have experienced one or more education-related difficulty; mental health issues are also considerable, with 73.8% of young women and 60.9% of young men reporting a current mental health distress.
This year, participants can register free of charge but are asked to encourage friends and family to sponsor their journey through donations. $36 equates to one hours work by a youth worker. Plugging this relatively small number into febfast’s 2019 target of $690,000, however, amounts to nearly 20,000 hours of care and support for the Australian youth that seek help and support from febfast’s partner organisations across Australia.