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Youth sailing program helping young people navigate life’s choppy waters

February 26, 2019

Patrick Nalty at home in Dulwich Hill. He is taking part in the sailing program and wants to become a sea captain. Photo: Supplied

When 20-year-old Patrick Nalty takes to the water in the Property Industry Foundation’s Youth Sailing Program everything he learns will bring him closer to his dream to be a sea captain.

But it hasn’t always been smooth sailing. Patrick grew up with an unstable homelife which sometimes meant he didn’t have a place to live.

The Youth Sailing Program, on February 26-27, provides a positive learning experience for young disadvantaged people in the lead up to the Property Industry Foundation’s Annual Charity Yachting Regatta, sponsored by Colliers International.

In total 11 young people will be taking part in the program, hosted by the Youth Sailing Academy at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.

The regatta raises funds for the foundation’s PIF House Program, which has the goal of building 125 bedrooms for homeless young people by 2021.

Patrick said when his mother died when he was 12 it sent him into a spiral of depression, eventually making him suicidal.

“I was eventually expelled from school and ended up couch surfing and then living in supported accommodation,” he said.

He eventually found a home at PIF House Dulwich Hill, run by PIF’s charity partner Stepping Stone House, where he is now living semi-independently and rapidly increasing his independent living skills.

Since recently leaving school Patrick has done training in hospitality, attained his construction white card and volunteers on Sydney’s most famous restored vessel the James Craig. But he said his goal was still to be a sea captain.

“There’s something so different about working on the sea – it’s an adventure different from daily life on land,” he said.

John Kenny, chief executive, Australia & New Zealand, Colliers International, said the regatta was about building more houses for young people just like Patrick.

“The regatta is the most popular industry networking event going – and its sole aim is to reduce youth homelessness.”

Kate Mills, chief executive of the Property Industry Foundation said the homes the foundation built were purpose-built to give young homeless people mentoring and life skills training so they could become independent and achieve their goals in life.

“Patrick has come so far because of the PIF House Program and his story inspires us to keep building homes,” she said.

The foundation has three sailing events nationally. The Melbourne Charity Sailing Challenge on 1 March has already sold out. There are still places available at the annual Charity Yachting Regatta in Sydney on 15 March and the Brisbane Charity Sailing Cup on 17 May. However, places are booking fast. Visit to book.

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