Father Chris Riley AM, founder and chief executive officer of Youth Off The Streets, has worked with disadvantaged youth for more than 40 years in a variety of roles including teacher, youth worker, probation officer, residential carer, principal and CEO. Father Chris officially founded Youth Off The Streets in 1991.
As CEO of Youth Off The Streets, Father Chris oversees the operation of over 35 programs that employ over 200 staff and involve more than 400 volunteers. He has implemented innovative behaviour modification strategies to help young people deal with a history of trauma, abuse and neglect. He has grown the organisation from a single food van delivering meals to young homeless people on the streets of Kings Cross to a major youth specific agency providing a wide range of services such as crisis accommodation, independent schools, residential treatment programs, centres for youth, Aboriginal programs, and early intervention and prevention programs into troubled suburbs through an outreach service.
Many of these strategies have been adopted by schools across Australia and by Government agencies.
Father Chris believes there is no such thing as a “child born bad”, but acknowledges that there are bad environments, circumstances and families that impact negatively on our young.
“We must have the courage to demand greatness from our youth.”