VETERAN youth worker Les Twentyman has seen it all: from gang violence to youth prisons.
Yet the leading factor impacting young people, especially in regional Victoria, is isolation.
"In general it's isolation, boredom and unemployment," Mr Twentyman said.
"One of the big factors is getting employment and staying connected."
Social media, he says, is "as dangerous as a gun" for young people these days, with many platforms enabling bullies to reach their victims, even at home.
Visiting the south-west, Mr Twentyman sat down with The Standard to talk about a program called EMBRACE, run through the Les Twentyman Foundation in metropolitan schools.
EMBRACE takes 36 young people annually from diverse backgrounds, through a unique experience of self-discovery, building their confidence, self-esteem and leadership capabilities.
Mr Twentyman set up the program with the help of Wannon MP Dan Tehan when he was education minister, and is looking to expand the programs to south-west Victorian schools.
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