Our rider making a difference

14 Nov 2019

Congratulations to Hawaiian Ride for Youth ambassador Matt Gibbs on winning the Volunteer of the Year Award at the Youth Focus Make a Difference Awards.

Matt volunteers his time to mentor young people with Youth Focus and through his work has played a pivotal role in the early intervention of mental health issues and helping clients transition out of counselling.

Matt also cycles in the Hawaiian Ride for Youth which sees cyclists take the positive mental health message to young people and schools throughout regional Western Australia. During the 2019 ride, Matt shared his personal journey with students at Gnowangerup District High School, encouraging them to talk to people, find their own support networks and own their emotions.

Matt, who lives in the community of Hawaiian’s Park Centre, will take on the 2020 ride and says the Hawaiian Ride for Youth is important in breaking down stigmas surrounding mental health and reminding young people that help is at hand.

Youth Focus offers services and education programs not only to reduce symptoms associated with suicide, depression, anxiety and self-harm, but also to build long-term mental wellbeing and help young people reach their full potential.

“If this was around when I was a kid I would have had a very different journey, I just think the services it offers is just incredible,” Matt says.

When asked what advice he would give to a young person struggling with their mental health, Matt responds: “Talk to people about it. People understand more than you realise.”

Youth Focus Chief Executive Officer Arthur Papakotsias said the value of Youth Focus supporters, sponsors and partners could not be under-estimated.

“Our supporters are the cornerstone of Youth Focus and play a pivotal role in helping us reach as many young people as possible in our mission to turn the tide on youth suicide and improve the mental health of young people,” Mr Papakotsias said.

“From the ongoing support of individuals, to corporate partners, to our staff; everyone has a role to play. These contributions make positive differences to young people’s lives and have a meaningful impact on our community.”

Hawaiian is proud to partner with Youth Focus and support its important work.

To learn more about the Hawaiian Ride for Youth or to help Matt Gibbs to fundraise for Youth Focus, visit here