John Harbin has helped 80 troubled youths with his Carpe Diem Gym Program since it began 18 months ago.
John Harbin has helped 80 troubled youths with his Carpe Diem Gym Program since it began 18 months ago.

Teens urged to seize every day

SOMETIMES a strong approach to discipline is all a troubled teenager needs.

And that’s exactly what local teacher, sports psychologist and rugby league coach John Harbin has been doing for 18 months as part of his Carpe Diem Gym Program, now held at the CQUniversity Rockhampton Campus Gymnasium.

Eighty teens, referred to John by the CQ Youth Justice Centre, have been through the program since its formation.

The majority are young indigenous males and they attend the program in small groups.

John said it was all about consistency while giving them discipline and guidance.

“I’m not saying this is the answer to every kid’s issues. I’m saying it works for some; it just depends on the individual,” John said.

“But if I know that it helped at least one kid get out of their bad habits, then it’s been worth it.”

John said that four kids from his program now had jobs, one was studying at university, 12 had gone back to school and achieved highly academically and others had got off the crime scene all together.

“The reason I started this is because I’ve walked in their shoes, I know what it’s like, but it really highlights the problem of youth crime in Rockhampton, which has skyrocketed,” he said.

A 16-year-old boy now in the program said he felt it had given him direction and stability in his life.

“I was just in the wrong crowd and getting involved in things like street fighting, so the gym has given me something to focus on with my footy and getting fit,” the teenager said.



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