Here at Westpoint we’re celebrating Neighbourhood Good. We’re proud of our community, and the people working within it to help others. In our neighbourhood, people are creating positive change every day, making lives better, taking care of those in need and creating a place where we all feel safe and welcome. That’s why we’re sharing their stories with you – to show you that there is so much good in our community, and to say how proud we are to be a part of it. Because ours is a place for everyone, where our community comes together.
Meet Easter Tatupu, Youth Engagement Officer at Blacktown PCYC.
For her, landing her role at PCYC Blacktown this year was like coming home. As a young teen Easter had spent a lot of her time alongside her sister as part of Pacific Wave, a program similar to today’s PCYC Haka Warriors initiative, which is teaching Pacific Island youth the cultural war dance to promote positive change, unity, identity and leadership.
“This is a bit of a full circle for me being back here and being on the other side it, being a mentor in that space,” she says now. “I was one of the students in one of the programs and I could probably tell you now, I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for the program that I did.” She pauses, “I think it's so important for people of Blacktown to know that this resource is here – it's been impacting lives for such a long time. I don't know where I'd be if it wasn't for PCYC, and when I get the opportunity to talk about it, I do.”
“The Blacktown PCYC is like a beacon,” she adds. “It's like home, and it became a home for me, too.”
Easter knows firsthand that the Pacific Island community comes with its fair share of problems, including the issue of violence.
“This is something that I've grown up around,” she says. “It's not in my own personal family, but my friends and people around me. That's why I feel it's a lot more personal to me, these are my people and this is the community and this is not who we are, and this is not how we should be portrayed – it's massive to me to always be thinking of new ways to help these kids.”
For the team at the PCYC, helping them starts by making all of them feel part of something, and feel part of the wider community, too.
“We always want to make sure that as a youth club, we're open to all,” says Easter. “We don't just want to take all the kids that are just unicorns and roses, behaviour-wise. We have all sorts of different kids, and we just want to build as many resources as we can to help all of them.”
“You never want to just have people just come through and never grow, at least in the time that they've been there,” she continues, “so that's my job, to just engage people. What is it that they actually want? What is it that they want to pursue? Then get them on that path. We run school holiday programs, we run programs in schools, and we always want to make sure that the programs we run are targeted to what the need is at the given time.”
Easter says there is so much reward for her in the work that the PCYC does.
“It's the little things,” she says. “It's never things that you can really write on paper. It's the little moments that you see when you're in those schools and you get to see the impact that you're making. It's a thank you for coming in. It's a little thank you so much, it's the shaking our hands as we walk out. It's so satisfying and so hard to explain, but that's what makes it worthwhile.”
For her Blacktown is a very special area because it’s so diverse.
“I know a lot of us are Pacific Islanders but there are so many of us out here. There's so many Africans and Asians and it's just, wherever you turn in Blacktown, there's never just one ethnicity that you see,” she laughs. “I have so many different kinds of friends from so many different ethnicities and backgrounds, and it's amazing. It's awesome and I don't think I'd change that for anything.”