Updated: Apr 19
When Gary Arabi cleaned up his life after a youth spent on the streets, he vowed to help boys drawn to the temptation of easy money and crime. It may have taken him a while but his brilliant idea is taking off.
It wasn’t until later that the 49-year-old found a way to do it, through landscape gardening.
The unusual idea came to Mr Arabi through his son Haych and the 17-year-old’s friends in 2016.
“I thought these guys need help, for real. Because parents haven’t got time for their kid, that’s why they turn out that way,” he said.
Haych Arabi, 17, says his friends embrace the idea.
Greenacre man starts ‘Garden gangs’ in bid to get youth off the streets.
“If you don’t get onto these kids now, and they start getting into that, being drug dealers … they will never ever work for a normal job … they make so much they’d rather sell drugs.”
Support Your Local Youth was born. With the help of his son Mr Arabi compiled a list of 10 boys they would give a start through his self-owned business.
“I came up with the idea of starting gangs, in the sense of home and garden care gangs,” he said. “I’ve trained a couple of youth already [and] my son as well … I’ve trained them how to use a lawnmower and whipper-snipper and the blower, just the normal instruments you need for garden care.”
“Once I see that person is suitable to be a supervisor, I will put on two with him and that’s the gang.”
Haych, in Year 12 at Strathfield South High School, said his friends embraced the idea. “When (dad) mentioned it to me, I told him I could support heaps because I’m around youth,” he said.
“What happened was I started getting all my friends into helping cut lawns and landscaping. Just the thought of helping the youth and the people that I hung around, I thought they needed some help.” Once they start working, the youth take home everything they earn, minus overheads.