Youth Focus volunteer makes a difference

Applecross resident Matt Gibbs Picture: Jon Hewson
Applecross resident Matt Gibbs Picture: Jon Hewson

MAKING a difference to the lives of young people living with mental health issues has earned Matt Gibbs recognition.

The Applecross resident has volunteered to mentor young people with Youth Focus and was part of the Hawaiian Ride for Youth support crew for two years before jumping on the bicycle himself this year.

His level of dedication landed him the title of Volunteer of the Year at the Youth Focus 2019 Make a Difference Awards last Wednesday, November 13.

Mr Gibbs said he got involved with Youth Focus through his wife Lynda, who was a massage therapist during the ride in 2012.

“The mentor program was for young people coming out of counselling and it was my role to help them get on with things,” he said.

“We’d catch up once a fortnight, watch a movie or I’d help them through an issue. Some days you’d be talking about something that was heavy and other days you’d be playing Pokemon Go.”

Mr Gibbs and his wife celebrated their fourth wedding anniversary during this year’s ride and she was able to be with him last Wednesday when he collected his award.

“I went along with my wife and I was none the wiser; I definitely felt a bit special,” he said.

Mr Gibbs said being named Volunteer of the Year was a humbling high point, but it wasn’t the end of his involvement with Youth Focus.

He is now training for his second Hawaiian Ride for Youth in 2020.