2016 Youth Work Award Recipients

The annual NSW Youth Work Awards were celebrated at a gala awards ceremony at the Australian Museum on 1 December 2016. The awards are an opportunity for the NSW Youth Work Sector to recognise those who provide an outstanding contribution to the health, safety and wellbeing of young people in NSW.

Youth Action presents awards in 9 categories, to honour those individuals and services who go above and beyond to help create a society where all young people can feel supported, valued and engaged. 

(Nominees below with winner in bold)

Innovation in Using Data to Tell Stories

Blacktown Youth Services Association, B.O.S.S. (BYSA Online Service Statistics)

BOSS is Blacktown Youth Services Association’s online portal to collect a range of information about the young people that engage with them. BOSS allows BYSA staff to use the data to drive the processes of program design and delivery and evaluation. The information is also used to advocate and lobby on behalf of young people and their needs.


  • Mosman Council Youth Services Volunteering Programs
  • Mountains Youth Services Team


Outstanding Service or Project Working with Young People from CALD Backgrounds

The Multicultural Youth Affairs Network of NSW

MYAN NSW engages, connects and builds the capacity of the youth and multicultural sectors to effectively meet the needs of young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds. Their Multicultural Youth Ambassadors program mentored and trained 30 young people in advocacy and leadership. Two members of the program attended the UNHCR NGO Consultations in Geneva.


  • The Drumming Therapeutic Program
  • Youth StepUP Apps


Outstanding Service or Project Working with Indigenous Young People

Kool Kids Club Program in La Perouse Weave Youth Service

Kool Kids Club is a program run by Weave Youth and Community Services for over 15 years in the La Perouse community. It provides opportunities for Aboriginal children and young people to build skills and confidence, foster cultural connection and pride, build community resilience, and nurture future leaders. In 2016 the program has worked with more than 160 children, young people and their families.


  • Eurobodalla Youth Cafes
  • Walgett Shire Council


Outstanding Partnership

Cooma Youth Hub

Cooma Youth Hub is the only youth focused centre in their area and provides services to a wide regional area. The Youth Hub relies on multiple partners to deliver a range of services to young people. The Hub breaks down barriers between organisations by brining various workers from various organisations into one building where they share offices, resources and worker support.


  • Brotherhood
  • Marrickville Souths Breakfast & Fitness Club
  • The Pop Up Project
  • Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth (P.A.R.T.Y.) Program
  • RYDON (Regional Youth Development Officers Network)
  • Street TV
  • SENTRAL Youth Services


Outstanding Youth Participation

Weave Youth Advocates

The Weave Youth Advocate program encourages young people to become leaders and role models within Weave Youth Service. The 25 Youth Advocates contribute to development of services and programs, influencing the way these are delivered, while developing skills to become actively engaged in the community.


  • AbSec Youth Ambassador Program
  • Australian Kookaburra Kids Foundation
  • Mosman Council Youth Services
  • Peer Enrichment and Empowerment Project (PEEP)
  • Homebush Boys High School Student Leadership Program
  • Sydney Pacifica
  • The #YCProject - Carers NSW
  • The Junction Works’ Youth Clicks Committee
  • YouthSource


NSW Youth Worker Volunteer of the Year

Jeremy Andreani, Cerebral Palsy Alliance

Jeremy has volunteered as a mentor in the Cerebral Palsy Alliance youth mentoring program for 8 years, contributing over 450 hours. Jeremy has always gone ‘above and beyond’ in his role. He has been a great example to other mentors, with his fantastic engagement with his mentee, which has had a positive impact on all the young people in the program.


  • Lilly Lyons


NSW Youth Service of the Year

Options Youth Housing, Caretakers Cottage

Options Youth Housing is a program of Caretakers Cottage Inc. Options provides transitional accommodation and case work support to up to 57 young people and young families. Options is an innovative program with a loose structure based on individual need so each young person can make the most of their time with Options. In the last 12 months Options has seen 34% of young people exit into private rental and 33% exit back to their family.


  • Blacktown Youth Services Association
  • Interns Australia


NSW Youth Worker of the Year 

Amy O'Neil, Glebe Youth Service

Amy has been at Glebe Youth Service for the last 4 years and has become the go-to person for many young women and families in Glebe. Amy runs a number of programs for at risk young women, including ‘Girlzone’, tackling the ‘hard’ stuff like health & hygiene, cyber safety, and respectful relationships; and ‘Girls Who Box’ – an early morning program to build exercise habits and getting to school on time.


  • Christopher Manoski
  • Emilly Pettit
  • Godelive Hofman-Verkuyl
  • Greg Nikoletos
  • Hellen Horton
  • Jennifer Parke
  • Joy Mullings
  • Karen Yuen
  • Law Tuilaepa
  • Leticia-Anne-Maree Quince
  • Marissa Borromeo
  • Melissa Sass
  • Penny Lamaro
  • Saba Nabi
  • Shannon Nyhan


Lifetime Achievement Award

Nick Higgins

Nick has been a youth worker for over 30 years and has committed his career to improving youth services for young people in Shellharbour. Nick played a major role in setting up Shellharbour youth services, the Blackbutt Youth Centre, the Illawarra South Coast Youth Services Conference, and the Shellharbour Youth Network. Nick is currently manager of Shellharbour City Council Youth Services Team, has been advocating for young people for over 30 years and has inspired many young people to become youth worker.


  • Charlie Coorey
  • Henry McCarthy
  • Lynne McGimpsey