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Record number of new riders gear up for 22nd Hawaiian Ride for Youth

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Australia’s premier charity cycling event – the Hawaiian Ride for Youth – is more than living up to its name.

As the iconic community event enters its 22nd year, there are more first-time riders gearing up than ever before, with 49 new cyclists taking on the challenge to make a difference.

During its 22-year history, the Hawaiian Ride for Youth has raised nearly $32 million for youth mental health. This vital funding has enabled Youth Focus to provide mental health services to thousands of young people across Western Australia each year, including counselling, education, work and study pathways, and support for communities impacted by crises.

Youth Minister Simone McGurk, who attended the Hawaiian Ride for Youth launch event on Thursday evening, said events like this help to encourage and foster positive and proactive conversations about youth mental health in the community, while raising vital funds and awareness for the work of Youth Focus.

“As the Minister for Youth, I am passionate about the health and well-being of young Western Australians. Mental health is the foundation for a young person’s life and for their future, and it’s wonderful to see the community coming together to support the Hawaiian Ride for Youth and Youth Focus.”

This important event started in 2003, when 24 riders made a commitment to creating real change in the Western Australian community. They saw that many young people in WA were struggling with mental health challenges, so they decided to make a difference.

At a time when mental health was rarely spoken about, these 24 individuals committed to riding hundreds of kilometres across WA, raising awareness and vital funds for Youth Focus along the way – with the support of Hawaiian as a partner from the very beginning.

The 22nd Hawaiian Ride for Youth will see more than 150 riders pedalling 700km from Albany to Perth in March 2024, stopping at 15 schools along the journey. And while the event may have grown, the goal remains the same: uniting the community to support youth mental health.

Youth Focus CEO Derry Simpson said: “The Hawaiian Ride for Youth has become part of the fabric of WA. The riders travel through a number of communities from Albany to Perth and the support they receive from those communities is incredible.

“At its heart, the Hawaiian Ride for Youth is about bringing community together, raising awareness about youth mental health support, generating conversation, and ultimately creating a Western Australia where our young people can thrive.

“The funds raised by every rider who takes part in this incredible 700km journey helps Youth Focus to ensure young people have access to the support services they need, when they need them and within their own communities.”

Tragically, suicide remains the leading cause of death among young people aged between 15 and 24 in Australia. However, research has shown that access to mental health services can be a key factor in preventing youth suicide1. It’s this need for local services that motivates the riders to keep going, kilometre after kilometre.

Chair of the Hawaiian Ride for Youth Volunteer Organising Committee, Ross Kyrwood, said the growing number of riders demonstrated the ever-increasing diversity of the event.

“It’s wonderful and genuinely humbling to see more and more members of our community who are willing to put in serious time, effort and energy to support the event and Youth Focus,” Ross said.

“It’s a big commitment: these riders are giving up their time and their own energy to help inspire others to do the same in one way or another, for the greater good of the community, to support the vital services Youth Focus provides across WA.”

Richard Kilbane, Hawaiian Chief Operating Officer said supporting the community and building sustainable partnerships with meaningful organisations such as Youth Focus was important to Hawaiian.

“This year, in Hawaiian’s thirtieth year, we also celebrate 22 years of the Hawaiian Ride for Youth,” Mr Kilbane said.

“At Hawaiian, we are committed to creating thriving communities. Hawaiian’s long-standing support of Youth Focus and the Hawaiian Ride for Youth helps us play a pivotal role in providing support and opportunity for the young people of Western Australia. It’s these young people that are the future of Western Australia, and we want to ensure they have every chance at creating their own promising futures,” Mr Kilbane said.

To donate or for more information visit www.rideforyouth.com.au.

For further information, interview and images please contact:
Lisa Shearon | Youth Focus | 0432 821 877 [email protected]

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