Helen Macpherson Smith Trust

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Case Study: Reach

ProjectFuture-proofing Reach: investing in our crew to support more young Australians through COVID-19 and beyond.



ProgramPast Programs | Health

Reducing inequality Supporting young people experiencing poor social and emotional wellbeing
Building organisational capacity Driving recruitment and building the capability of Reach’s ‘Crew’ of young leaders will strengthen the capacity of this youth-led organisation
Collaboration and partnership Swinburne University of Technology, schools

Boosting the resilience of young people with a youth-led approach

With the most influential group for teenagers being their peers, Reach's Crew are young leaders who are trained to effectively engage and inspire other young people. The Crew are the lifeblood of Reach, and it is their work that enables Reach to impact the lives of 30,000+ young people each year, however, the impact of COVID-19 on their Crew numbers meant Reach was not able to meet the growing demand from schools for its work. With reduced Crew numbers, Reach needed to accelerate its efforts in attracting and retaining young leaders to deliver its programs.

Image Reach Crew in their weekly online training during lockdown. Photo: courtesy Reach.

As the world navigates through the COVID-19 pandemic, children and young people in Australia are living through unparalleled times. It is clear that COVID-19 has impacted young Australians, but it is unclear how long this impact will last. Reach has a long and proud history of nurturing young leaders. Its Crew deliver group workshops to develop the social and emotional wellbeing of young people, inspiring them to be their best selves and develop the resilience that is critical to meeting life’s challenges, something that is more important than ever in a COVID-19 world.


  • An HMSTrust Response & Recovery grant enabled Reach to recruit an additional 15 young leaders into its Crew Development Program, as well as build the capacity of its current Crew cohort.
  • Reach identifies, trains and employs young people who have themselves disengaged from formal education at a stage in their lives, and importantly, have the potential and aspiration to take on leadership roles.
  • The Crew are trained to identify and assist young people to understand the range of common experiences and responses to growing up in a way that enables them to translate these life challenges to an audience of 10-18 year olds.
  • The full training of Crew members takes between 2-3 years and consists of a range of experiential programs and opportunities, both within and outside of Reach, for learning and self-reflection.
  • Each crew member has the potential to impact the lives of up to 500 young Australians each year.



“I liked that the questions were ones that we wouldn't usually be asked and it made me think a bit deeper than usual and made me feel more connected and normal.” - Reach program participant