Turning lives around

Javier Franco, at front, with Nestor Franco, Ravon Ritchie, Dan Sheikh, Wesley Naidoo, Shaun Baptista, Caleb Pepulani and |Jackson Marsh. Picture: Martin Kennealey www.communitypix.com.au d425287
Javier Franco, at front, with Nestor Franco, Ravon Ritchie, Dan Sheikh, Wesley Naidoo, Shaun Baptista, Caleb Pepulani and |Jackson Marsh. Picture: Martin Kennealey www.communitypix.com.au d425287

Today the 29-year-old is a selfless, community-minded person on the cusp of setting up a program for underprivileged youth, but things could have been so different had a chance encounter not helped steer his life in the right direction.

‘In high school, the stuff I got involved in led me down a pretty bad path,’ he said.

‘I could have ended up in jail, or even worse.’

The turning point came when he caught up with a friend who invited him to volunteer his time at Perth Christian Life Centre and Centre Point Church nine years ago.

He said helping others became a passion.

Javier’s efforts were recognised recently when he was named runner-up at the national Coles Community Hero Awards.

He secured a $10,000 donation, which he hopes to use to establish a youth department at Perth City Church, running breakfast programs at schools and working with troubled young people in juvenile detention centres.

‘We’re in the process of looking for a venue in the City at the moment,’ he said.

Perth City Church pastor Dan Sheikh said he was proud to see how far Javier had come.

‘You can’t ask for more than to see someone under you now take on the role, replicate and train up guys to run the same sort of programs,’ he said.