BY CATHERINE MAHONY
Over 20 years ago during his Christmas holidays at Nelson Bay, Robert Innes first met 2012 NSW Australian of the Year, Fr Chris Riley.
Soon after hearing Fr Chris speak during Mass, Robert encouraged fellow members of St Joseph’s East Maitland school and parish community to raise funds for Fr Chris’ Youth Off The Streets charity, currently the largest independent (non government) provider of care for homeless youth in Australia.
After almost ten more years of raising funds and organising the donation of goods in kid for Youth Off The Streets, Fr Chris suggested Robert give up his job as a long distance truck driver and manage the charity’s shops.
Now Robert manages several hundred volunteers and eight shops across the Hunter, Central Coast, Sydney and Bowral.
Robert says he is inspired by Fr Chris’ “honesty and the way he speaks to people. He can calm a troubled kid just by the way he speaks to him, just by giving him confidence”.
A driving force for homeless youth (Aurora)