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Date posted: 22 May 2014
Like all teenagers, Michael Salisbury just wants to have fun on a Saturday night. A year ago this meant 'going out, drinking and getting into trouble'. These days fun is hitting the hoops at Armadale Arena, Western Australia.
Michael is one of 250 teenagers registered with the Drug Aware Ignite basketball initiative, a sport intervention program run by the City of Armadale. As well as hosting Saturday night basketball games, the program provides psychological support and counselling for kids aged 12-17 years. It is an extension of a similar program started in Northbridge several years ago.
Issues facing participants include crime and anti-social behaviour, malnutrition, domestic violence and chronic disease.
Michael said before he joined the program he 'didn't like working with people' or 'spending time with others'. Michael, 17, came from the foster care system and now wants to become a foster parent himself.
While the Department of Sport and Recreation is a key supporter of the program, Ignite basketball is hoping to increase funding by finding from private donors.