Graduate Celebration Stories

The hands of a chef in chef whites are placing cherry tomatoes onto squares on frittata.

Join us as Rebecca shares her STREAT Youth Programs journey with us!

Rebecca started in August 2021, and still recalls day one at STREAT: “I remember the first time I came to the building for my intake. I immediately felt welcome by the atmosphere of the place and the staff; I felt unsure but felt like the door was open if I wanted to go through it. A big part was feeling like I was part of something important even though it was a small group of people that didn’t have a lot in common, we were still close-knit and wanted each other to succeed,” she said.

Ensuring everyone who comes to STREAT feels comfortable and safe is one of our biggest objectives, with 93% of young people reporting that they felt a sense of ‘belonging’ within STREAT Youth Programs.

Our youth programs aim to provide wrap-around support to accomplish a sense of “Healthy Self”; this starts from our youth programs team, made up of allied health professionals, who do an incredible job at providing tailored support to the young person, links to specialist services as needed and a fun and engaging work readiness curriculum.

“There were multiple times where I thought I wouldn’t show up anymore as I had other challenges or felt it was too difficult to overcome, but everyone at STREAT constantly reassured me, and they gave me extra time to breath and think and I could slow down the pace if I wanted to. I constantly had self-doubt but when you are surrounded by so many people opposing your opinion, you have no choice but to listen to it at some point. I knew that no matter how I felt internally, I would get the same level of support, if not more,” Rebecca told us.

At STREAT we want every young person to have a pathway full of learning and earning opportunities in hospitality and horticulture; by offering workplace training and mentoring across STREAT’s inner Melbourne cafes, kitchens, and partner horticulture sites. STREAT aims to provide young people with a sense of “Healthy Work”, so they can build and improve on their personal and professional skills.

Rebecca explained how she felt during her work experience in one of our STREAT cafes: “Everyone in the kitchen and Front of House team aimed to make me feel welcome and capable. They were patient with everything and went out of the way to challenge you if you wanted it. They waited for you to be ready before giving you extra responsibilities. For me, in the kitchen, I felt extremely valued even as a trainee; I felt like they wanted me to keep coming there – especially Di (Di Kerry is STREAT’s Executive Chef)! It’s work experience but on your terms.”

“We had a great support network around us that wanted us to achieve together – even though it was educational, it didn’t feel like that was all it was,” she said. STREAT aims to fully support young people in building their sense of Healthy Self by ensuring they are linked to appropriate services, as well as building personal skills related to routine, healthy habits, and self-care.

Rebecca’s reflection of their last year and a half at STREAT shows in words how life-changing this experience can be for our young people.

“Before STREAT, I had no direction in life; I had come off the back of some really challenging years of my life and I didn’t know how to go forward. I knew I had to start something, and this seemed like the right place; even if it wasn’t what I imagined myself doing, it was a steppingstone to get me to the places I eventually wanted to be, and without it, I don’t know how long I would have been standing still – probably a long time! And now, after STREAT, I am slowly recognizing parts of myself again, and I am not the same person I thought I was going to be, but the person I am now is better than where I was before, and I can finally say I am doing something with my life! I am not ashamed of myself anymore,” Rebecca said.

Rebecca has recently completed the last step of her Paid to Work program, which is nine months of work experience at RACV, one of our fantastic partner employers. Rebecca’s future plans are focused on continuing to achieve goals at both work and education.

“I will continue with RACV, and I have been trained to work in two separate areas of the kitchen, which means I hope to have the flexibility to switch between both going forward. At the same time, I have been able to explore higher education which was something I didn’t think was achievable in the past – but going through STREAT’s program, I felt capable, and I am now completing a Bachelor of Psych with Honors at Monash University – and I hope to make a different kind of difference for people someday,” she added.

Rebecca’s journey shows the value of everyone’s support to STREAT! Whether it’s getting a coffee or a meal in one of our STREAT cafes; getting your STREAT products and hampers from our online shop, or STREAT catering for your next meeting, or booking STREAT for an e-learning experience through our new learning and development team, STREATwise, it all adds up. Anyone who supports STREAT is helping support young people to achieve their goals and ensure that STREAT Youth Programs can continue to provide an opportunity for amazing outcomes for young people in the future!

Our big applause goes out to you all, and well done, Rebecca! The STREAT team is proud of you!

Want to learn more?

If you are or know a young person looking to gain new skills in work readiness and work experience, please email us at or call (03) 96294222. Or you can learn more about our youth programs, and apply through our website.