A Commonwealth Bank donation will make a huge difference to running a program for Armidale's Indigenous youth, PCYC manager Sam Davis believes.
Armidale branch employees donated $500 to the thrice-weekly, police-run Nanyapura boxing program.
Since 2017, it has developed self-respect and confidence in Indigenous kids, some of whom have been in trouble with the law.
"We want to keep it an ongoing program," Mr Davis said. "We don't want it to go for a year, then stop. Good as these programs are, it costs a lot of money to feed more than 60 kids, or get new boxing gloves every week."
"We're very excited to have the opportunity to support the Nanyapura Boxing program," Commonwealth Bank branch manager Debra Honeysett said.
The majority of the money would fund the breakfast program, Mr Davis explained. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, volunteers and police officers pick up the kids, and take them to the centre.
"The program's fundamental is keeping kids accountable," Mr Davis said. "They have to wake up early. Some of them are up at 5.30 in the morning."
Their day starts at 6.30am with a boxing or fitness session, followed by breakfast - the biggest cost to the program. Community members might give cultural talks, or teach traditional Indigenous languages.
"We're making sure kids who don't normally get breakfast are having it, and dropping them at school so we know they're there," Mr Davis said. "We're seeing a huge difference in some of these kids' behaviour: how they react with the police, and how they engage at school."
Some formerly frequent offenders have now stopped altogether. "Originally, they were doing nothing, getting in trouble, not going to school," Mr Davis said. "They're now some of our best kids."
Seventeen and 18-year-olds regularly attend school, and are looking for employment. Some will work on building and construction sites, others as baristas or in hospitality.
"We're giving them a foot in the door," Mr Davis said. "Hopefully they'll get good references, and start their career."
They mentor younger kids, and act as role models.
Mr Davis asked readers to help out with the program. "The best thing someone can give us is volunteer time," he said. He would like community members - particularly business owners who may have had negative run-ins with the kids in the past - to come down, meet them, and build good relations. Contact 6772 1023.
Over the next few months, Commonwealth Bank will donate $500,000 nationally to organisations that make a difference to their communities. Each branch and customer-facing team has been allocated $500 to donate to causes important to their local community. In New England, bank employees have supported the Glen Innes soccer club and organisations in Walcha and Tenterfield.