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StreetKind seeks volunteers to keep Sydney’s young people safe at night

When Kristen Flex turned 18 six years ago, she could’ve been hitting Sydney’s nightclubs and bars with friends. 

Instead, she spent some of her first nights out making sure other people got home safely.

Ms Flex describes herself as being shy. But just six months after starting volunteering on Sydney’s streets with Take Kare she found herself helping a stranger ward off a stalker in the city centre.

“She actually came over, jumped into my arms, honestly, pretended to be like my long-lost best friend,” Ms Flex said.

“[She was] pretending like she knew me because she was actually being followed by a male who wasn’t known to her.

Team leaders have been trained in first-aid. (ABC Radio Sydney: Declan Bowring)

“We got her out of that sticky situation simply just by pretending to be friends.”

Six years later, the now 24-year-old works every weekend as a coordinator with a similar program called StreetKind, which encourages positive social interactions.

It’s simple actions like being a long-lost friend that can help save people on a night out from dangerous situations, Ms Flex says.

“Giving them a safe escort to places, especially if they’re walking around by themselves, we can be that friendly face to walk around with,” she said.

“It could be as simple as giving someone some water after they’ve left a nightclub.”

A pop-up white gazebo tent with black letters reading Street Kind, need some help?

The service is a revival of Take Kare, which was set up by the Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation.(ABC Radio Sydney: Declan Bowring)

A gap in harm prevention

It’s a busy Saturday night on the Darling Harbour boardwalks. As families and diners leave, young revellers arrive and fill lines to nightclubs.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-08-05/streetkind-seeks-volunteers-to-keep-sydney-nightlife-safe-young/102670268 StreetKind seeks volunteers to keep Sydney’s young people safe at night

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