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 Long-time Blacktown resident and father, Chris Barton, urges volunteers to join Step Into Action supporting young people learn life skills Long-time Blacktown resident and father, Chris Barton, urges volunteers to join Step Into Action supporting young people learn life skills
22 May 2024 Posted by 

Chris endures a 200k walk for Blacktown’s youth

AS more local young people reel with mental health difficulties, Chris Barton is changing the way he is contributing to make a real difference in their lives.
Six months ago, Mr Barton formed Step Into Action, a small group of avid long-distance walkers like himself raising awareness on mental health impacting youths, at the same time pooling funds to help youths learn much needed life skills.
“Mental health had impacted my family, too, but it is bigger than that for me,” Mr Barton said.
“In Australia, we know one in five young people in ages 12 to 17 and one in four among 16 to 24 struggled with mental health challenges like anxiety and depression.
“Suicide in the age group 16 to 24 is among the causes of death of our young people and in Western Sydney we know the numbers are bleak.
“For me, this is not good enough so that’s what motivates me to make a difference and make an impact [on their lives].”
Step Into Action has created a website for people who wants to help and join their Walk for Youth Mental Health events with all funds raised goes to a range of youths training programs run by BREED Australia.
BREED runs the School and Community Learning Program to mentor young people on emotional intelligence, resilience, and how to achieve their goals in life in partnership with schools and community groups in Western Sydney.
Last month, Mr Barton and many other walkers clocked 200 kilometres for 30 hours in a Blacktown athletic field, “pushing my absolute physical and mental limits to fight for a brighter future for our young people.”
“This was the farthest I have walked non-stop. Last year I walked from Katoomba to Manly non-stop which was 130 kilometres,” Mr Barton said.
“I have now done four of these walks in the last seven years and plan to continue to do more.
“I chose BREED Australia as a local charity as they directly put the money raised into local programs in Western Sydney positively impacting our young people.”
Mr Barton’s four walking events raised at least $20,000 so far for BREED program, and more events are in planning stage for those willing to do the long walks with them.
“Step Into Action is a movement about building resilience built around our walking experience,” Mr Barton said.
“Together I believe we can build a community where shared stories, connection and acts of resilience can pave the way for a better future for our young people.”
Anyone interested to find out more about Mr Barton’s group and to join them can express their interest by visiting https://www.stepintoaction.com.au/.
To find out more about BREED Australia program for youths, visit https://breedaustralia.com.au/learning-for-good/.


Michael Walls
0407 783 413

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