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Q&A With Team Leader Clinton Plaatjies

We’d love to introduce you to Clinton Plaatjies (pictured left), who has been our Team Leader at our New Hope House for almost 6 years! Clinton is such a blessing to Teen Challenge QLD and plays a vital part in ensuring our crisis accommodation centre in Brisbane runs smoothly.

What is your role as a Team Leader?

My role as Team Leader is ensure that New Hope House maintains a quality service for young people engaging in our program. My job is to create a safe and friendly work environment for staff, making sure that the roster works for all staff, that administration is effective and efficient and that the service to young people remains consistent, professional and relevant. A typical day as Team Leader can range from applying Workplace, Health and Safety requirements to ensuring that young people get spiritual, mental, physical and psychological support they need.

What is the most rewarding part about your role?

Seeing the love and support workers offer the young people and finally seeing them change. To tell you the absolute truth, for me to see a young person smile who had no reason to smile when he entered the program is all the reward I need.

What is your favourite memory from your time at Teen Challenge?

I have many. My absolute favourite I suppose is when a young person, Hansoul Cho from South Korea (and could not speak much English) entered our program thinking that it was a backpackers accommodation. The funny thing was that a few weeks went by, but he still thought it was a backpackers. As much as we told him that it’s a crisis centre for homeless, he was determined that it was not. He loved our program and participated in everything, thinking that it was an interesting backpackers. He went camping with us, and simply stayed as long as he could. When we looked at his passport, we noticed that his visa was expiring in a few days. With the help of our case management and a local youth service, we helped him to get enough money together to buy a plane ticket back to South Korea. Today he is a chef in the South Korean Army and is still in contact with us. I won’t be surprised if he is still telling people in Korea about the great Backpackers he stayed at in Australia!

From your perspective, why do you think Teen Challenge works?

There are three very basic things that Teen Challenge offers that supersedes all the pharmaceutical, psychological or mental support that young people are offered out there. Love, Peace and Joy. In that order. I have seen many times how a life changed from sorrow to joy because of the love offered to them. And I’ve seen many young people experience God’s peace that surpasses all human understanding because of the love they receive. Teen Challenge workers are experts in guiding young people into Love, Peace and Joy. Taken for granted by some, until these three commodities are taken away from your life. God bless you all for your heart of service!

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