On mission to help youth

Javier Franco, at front, with Nestor Franco, Ravon Ritchie, Dan Sheikh, |Wesley Naidoo, Shaun Baptista, Caleb Pepulani and Jackson Marsh.
Javier Franco, at front, with Nestor Franco, Ravon Ritchie, Dan Sheikh, |Wesley Naidoo, Shaun Baptista, Caleb Pepulani and Jackson Marsh.

Today, the 29-year-old is a community-minded person working towards his goal of setting up a program for underprivileged youth, but things could have been very different if a chance encounter had 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 nine years ago who invited him to volunteer at Perth Christian Life Centre and Centre Point Church.

He said helping others became a passion.

His efforts were recognised recently, with Javier named runner-up in the national Coles Community Hero Awards.

He won 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 at 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.