Bundy businessman helping local youths paint a better future
A BUNDABERG builder is using art to help disadvantaged youth get off the streets and into working life.
Jesse Zielke of JRZ Homes is not only giving dysfunctional teens a chance to work for him, but is also creating opportunities to get their creative juices flowing through a street art project in Belle Eden Estate.
"There is a grey block wall on one of my sites at our Display Home and I have about four kids working on it for the next day," he said.
"They are literally spray painting for the better."
Mr Zielke said the youths, which he met through IMPACT's Xtreme Turnabout program, were aged 15 to 20 and had come from rough backgrounds.
"Three of them have been charged with graffiti offences and some of them have been done for armed robbery and theft," he said.
"Their parents don't have jobs and they spend their time causing trouble.
"They just need better guidance because they are actually good kids."
Street artist Jamie Kirby, who has his professional work displayed on businesses around Bundaberg, has come on board with the project.
"Jamie has travelled from Brisbane just to help out and make this happen," Mr Zielke said.
"We met up with the kids on Thursday and Jamie guided them and told them the different ways to go about the artwork," Mr Zielke said.
"He went over the design concept, which once finished, will incorporate different aspects of the community to show that we can all come together and work as one."
Mr Zielke said his passion for helping disadvantaged youth came about earlier this year when one of his business signs was vandalised.
"I posted to Facebook that I would offer the culprit work if they came forward, in the hope that I could actually help them," he said.
"I then ran into a lady who runs a course at IMPACT for dysfunctional youth and decided to get on board and help out."
Mr Zielke is not only running the street art workshop but also takes on youths for work experience at his own work site twice a week.
"I started work experience for them on our job site to try to get them in the habit of getting up every morning and going to work for eight hours," he said.
"It has its challenges because they are not used to being told what to do and have short attention spans. The ultimate goal is to get one of them an apprenticeship."
Mr Zielke said his efforts were self-funded and out of the goodness of his heart.
"I just think, everyone goes on about how bad youth unemployment is and how there are so many problems in Bundaberg but no one ever wants to help," he said.
"I have an opportunity as a business to help out, so why not."