Father Chris Riley AM Parkes Shire's 2020 Australia Day Ambassador

The Parkes Shire will welcome CEO of Youth Off The Streets and former NSW Australian of the Year, Father Chris Riley AM as the Parkes Shire's 2020 Australia Day Ambassador.

For more than 35 years, Father Riley has worked with disadvantaged youth in a variety of roles including teacher, youth worker, probation officer, residential carer and principal of the charity Boy's Town.

In 1991, Father Riley founded Youth Off The Streets (YOTS) which works with disadvantaged young people through a range of assistance and mentoring programs to encourage and facilitate positive life choices.

As CEO, Father Riley oversees the operation of over 35 programs that employ over 180 staff and involve more than 250 volunteers.

He has implemented innovative behaviour modification strategies to help young people deal with a history of trauma, abuse and neglect.

Many of these strategies have been adopted by schools across Australia and by Government agencies.

Father Chris Riley believes there is no such thing as a "child born bad", but acknowledges that there are bad environments, circumstances and families that impact negatively on our young.

"We must have the courage to demand greatness from our youth," he said.

Parkes Shire Mayor, Cr Ken Keith OAM said we are honoured to have Father Riley attend our special Australia Day activities at Trundle, Tullamore and Parkes, as well as present the Citizenship, Cultural and Sporting Awards during the official ceremonies.

"We look forward to hearing Father Riley's story, which epitomises the Australian cultural idiom of giving everyone a fair go," he said.

Residents and visitors are encouraged to join any of the celebrations held across the Parkes Shire.

For information about 2020 Australia Day events in the Parkes Shire, visit www.visitparkes.com.au.