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Local ETC staff meet with the Crossing Divides team and Diversity in the Arts program participants

An exciting creative industries program has given Gold Coast youth a chance to become more creative, engage with the community, and build their skills and career pathways.

The ‘Diversity in the Arts’ program delivered by Crossing Divides came to fruition after receiving a funding boost from the ETC Community Support Fund.

According to Project Facilitator Polly Armstrong, the jam-packed program incorporated a suite of music, arts and drama activities.

“We’ve covered Claymation, movie making, song writing workshops, making and recording music, drama classes, getting used to working in a recording studio, working with engineers and other song writers,” Ms Armstrong said.

Ms Armstrong said the 23 week program was attended by a total of 49 participants.

Crossing Divides Founder Jan Reimer said each year they received a huge influx of students with disability coming to them from local schools.

“We aim to create pathways, whether it’s paid work, getting them into the community or getting work experience. We offer a different program for young people with disabilities who are interested in sound engineering, music, art, technology – to provide for those who have exceptional skills. But also accommodating those who couldn’t even hold their head up walking to the corner store,” Ms Reimer said.

Crossing Divides program participant Damien Lobb had undertaken training to be a Sound Engineer and is now working in a paid job with Crossing Divides.

“When I first started, I wasn’t terribly social and didn’t like to perform in front of people. But the staff here helped me out and my confidence built. It’s like a big family here – there’s no judgement, everyone is friendly and we all like to have a laugh,” Damien said.

Ms Armstrong said one of the program participants Jesse had learnt how to cope with grief as part of his involvement in the program.

“Jesse had recently lost a close friend which had affected him to the point where he didn’t want to participate and was feeling very sad.

“He wrote a song about life, overcoming sadness, acknowledging death and that whole process. It really seemed to help with his grief,” she said.

Jesse encouraged other local youth to get on board with Crossing Divides.

“I’ve learned about friendship and music – it helped encourage me to be a great writer and musician. Music is my life. I love and always listen to music,” Jesse said.

ETC Gold Coast Business Relationship Manager Rachel Dow said it was a pleasure to be able to support Crossing Divides.

“The ETC Community Support Fund is designed to help organisations reduce disadvantage, generate opportunity, increase support services and/or build capacity in the communities in which we operate,” Ms Dow said.

“ETC is proud to be a not-for-profit company and we are confident the money we are donating will help make a more positive future for our community.”

For more information about Crossing Divides visit www.crossingdividesinc.org.au

ETC provides employment and training services on the Gold Coast. If you need help finding a job, are looking for staff or are interested in up-skilling, contact ETC on 1800 007 400.



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