Sarkis Achmar has seen a lot in the 25 years since he started working on the frontline of youth services, but one thing has never changed.
It doesn't matter if it's in the city, where he started out, or if it's in bush - where he relocated to several months ago - children and youth of all backgrounds need the same thing.
"Young people's connection to their parents and their guardians is such a crucial thing. I saw first hand.. (the effects) of depression and anxiety and where that leads if young people don't have a figure to follow in their lives to guide them," Mr Achmar said.
Mr Achmar, who spent four years co-ordinating programs for disadvantaged youth at the Kelso Community Hub before transferring to Bankstown in 2018, has returned to the Central West to take up a posting in Orange.
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In Western Sydney where Mr Achmar worked with young people for more than two decades, it was a constant battle against "predators" - that is, people who exploited this insecurity in young people.
They knew how to identify the kids in need of a role model or more secure family unit and they'd pretend to be that fatherly or brotherly figure.
The groups and individuals who targeted vulnerable youth were diverse, he said.
Due to the high demographic of Arabic-speaking kids in the Bankstown and Canterbury area, one of the sinister groups Mr Achmar found himself fighting was recruiters from terrorist organisations.
But there were many others who saw the kids in Mr Achmar's care as easy targets, such as bikie gangs, drug dealers, sex traffickers and paedophiles.
"The predators would promise them the world. They might offer them a place to sleep. They might give them some recreational drugs or give them the opportunity to make a little bit of money. But they made them (the kids) feel like they belonged somewhere," Mr Achmar said.
"My team and I would go in and we would counteract that by giving them a place they could feel a part of but with positive attributes."
Years of seeing that horrific human suffering up close took an enormous toll on Mr Achmar, but when the single dad relocated to Orange two months ago, he jumped at the opportunity to be Glenroi Youth Hub's project leader.
The demographics couldn't be more different out here but a lot of problems are the same. The young people who drop into the Youth Hub have slipped through the cracks.
The job isn't easy but his passion for it is maintained by the fact that he can't look at the kids in his care without seeing his own. "There's not a chance in hell I'll give up on these young people."
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