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HomeCover StoryMaking an Impact on Beenleigh’s Youth

Making an Impact on Beenleigh’s Youth

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“It takes a community to grow a community and I believe that Beenleigh is like no other”, Sergeant Mark Haestier, PCYC Beenleigh.

Making a difference in the lives of people, particularly youth, is one of the most rewarding things you can do. This is something that Sergeant Mark Haestier, the Youth Club Manager for PCYC Beenleigh knows all too well.

In his role at PCYC Beenleigh and as a police officer, Mark has seen first-hand the impact that early intervention, positive support, guidance and mentoring can have on young people. Discover how his time in the police force has helped him make a difference in people’s lives and helped him to lead others to do so as well.  

Sergeant Mark Haestier, Sarah Pitt & Brooklyn Gray from PCYC Beenleigh.

Tell us about yourself & how you got involved with PCYC Beenleigh?

My name is Mark Haestier. I am 53 years young and have been married to my wife, Natalie for 24 years. We have 2 children, aged 19 and 21. I’ve been a serving Police Officer for 34 years; 19 years with the Metropolitan Police Force ‘London’ and 15 years with the Queensland Police Service.

In 2008, after an interaction with a 13-year-old at the Beenleigh Courthouse, I felt helpless that I couldn’t assist that young person. That same week, I attended PCYC Beenleigh to join the Gym. I saw 2 police officers working there and enquired what their roles entailed.

After speaking with them, I was asked to assist with a program that was seeking to identify and address perceptions of the police through the eyes of youth. In the program, I was positioned behind a screen and youth would enter individually. I’d ask a series of questions and the answers were recorded.

The 3rd young person was the same youth I had interacted with at the Courthouse and instantly recognised my voice. From that moment, I knew I had a connection and was able to ‘make a difference’. Soon after, I had the opportunity to relieve at PCYC Beenleigh and eventually applied for a vacant position which I was successful and some 14 years later am still here.          

Describe a day in the life at PCYC Beenleigh.

Every day is different however the intention of each day remains the same. We intend to provide a facility that is socially inclusive irrelevant of age, ability or disability and to provide a multitude of opportunities for the community; youth in particular. Ensuring that the facility is well maintained and full of high-quality equipment.

My role is to ensure that our community engagement, youth development and crime prevention programs are delivered effectively and to the people that are in most need of assistance, support and guidance.

Senior Constable Bob Caunt and I develop, facilitate and evaluate numerous programs and take great pride in working with the youth of the community; whether that be within a school environment or here at the Club.

We are always thinking, observing local trends and obtaining information from various sources within the community to keep up to date with the locally based needs; so that we can target, assist and deliver appropriate programs that will alleviate some of the issues. We also conduct Individual Interventions and work closely with young people in a variety of ways; including teaching verbal communication and problem solving, working through the perceived issues and collaboratively finding achievable solutions for the youth or we refer them to relatable programs that they can engage in.

PCYC Beenleigh

How would you describe your leadership style?

I firmly believe in a positive work culture. The culture enables staff to feel connected, supported and feel a sense of pride within their workplace. I believe I am a supportive listener who encourages staff to exit their comfort zone to take on additional challenges. Proudly watching as they exceed their expectations.

What drew you to the police force and how did you discover it was the career for you?

It was a career that I’d always had an interest in. I joined the Met Police when I was 19 years old and quickly learned about ‘real life’. London is a very big and busy city. It provided me with the most amazing challenges, experiences and memories to last a lifetime.

I spent 12 years as a General Duties officer covering North London and my last 7 years in the MET Police within the Territorial Support Group (TSG). A specialist unit that was responsible for policing critical incidents across the city inclusive of terror related incidents, large demonstrations, football hooliganism, organised crime, scene preservation, rapid entries and riot situations. 

What career moments or achievements are you most proud of?

I am proud to have served for such a duration of time and to have worked closely with so many incredible officers in both countries.

Whilst at PCYC Beenleigh, I am incredibly proud of the achievements that the Club and community have achieved together. In particular, developing and facilitating several programs tailored to assist refugees, asylum seekers and foreign nationals, people with a disability or impairment and ladies that have, are or are likely to be affected by domestic and family violence.

To have been involved in so many amazing locally organised fundraising initiatives that have enabled programs, buildings and equipment to be purchased, thus enhancing the opportunities and delivery of PCYC Beenleigh.         

Tell us about a time when have you made a difference in a young person’s life.

In the 14 years that I have been at PCYC Beenleigh, I believe that the staff, volunteers and community have made positive differences in the lives of thousands of young people. However, we couldn’t do it alone. Without the genuine support from the community, we wouldn’t have been able to make the difference we have – from monetary donations to local businesses providing opportunities for work experience, traineeships and apprenticeships.

To have had positive connections with so many local schools and service providers that have provided many referrals of families and young people that we then could work closely with. Our youth programs are deliberately designed to commence within the state school to create trust, respect and a positive opinion of the police. The programming with high schools is tailored to identify and recognise the dangers within society but also to instil self-belief and confidence within the youth. Finally, our education, training and employment programs assist with obtaining driving licences, employment or returning to the education system.

Tell us about the current (youth) programs you have in place to help young people succeed.

Braking the Cycle is a program that assists youth to attain their 100 driving hours. Get Set For Work (GSFW) assists 16-19 years old’s designed education, training and employment program over 10 weeks. Providing them with interview techniques, resume writing, team and individual activities, work experience and industry visits. Boxing After Dark is a program delivered every Friday evening to young people 13 – 19 years to keep active and off of the streets; away from engaging in criminal activity.

What is your favourite thing about Beenleigh?

Beenleigh although it has grown exponentially, still has a country town feel to it. It is an extremely supportive community whereby businesses and individuals are always willing to assist others in their times of need. I feel very fortunate to have been involved in so many events over the years. 

For more information about PCYC Beenleigh and its programs, call them on (07) 3380 1777 or visit their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/PCYCBeenleigh/.

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Emily Stack
Emily Stack
Editorial Team
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