Every year Youth Action's NSW Youth Work Awards receives a number of incredible nominations for the Lifetime Achievement Award. Looking to pay tribute to the ongoing dedication of those nominated in this category, in 2020 the NSW Youth Work Hall of Fame was inaugurated.
The Hall of Fame honours the hard work and commitment that these individuals have shown over their professional career. Over the course of the next year Youth Action will highlight and share the stories of the NSW Youth Work Hall of Fame inductees.
Justin has been working with young people for more than 25 years in a variety of roles. These include working at a Summer Camp in NJ, USA, casual Links To Learning Officer at Manly Council, volunteer, casual and full time YDO role at Warringah Council. For the past 3 years Justin has been Youth Services Team Leader at Northern Beaches Council. Justin continues to work hard establishing and innovating a variety of youth programs, events and activities on the Northern Beaches and has built a new youth team with a focus on innovation, community and council collaboration, and partnerships. Justin is a strong advocate for young people to be involved in decision making processes which has led to creative ways that council consults with young people
Natalie is a passionate and dedicated Youth Practitioner, Leader and Change maker. For 15 years, Natalie has been the manager of Blacktown Youth Services Association (BYSA). Alongside her role at BYSA, Natalie is a board member of Western Sydney Community Forum where she represents the needs and passions of young people. Natalie is a strong advocate for and driving systems change across the Western Sydney region.
Throughout her career Natalie has been guided by the thousands of young people she has had the honour of working alongside. It is this guidance that has seen Natalie manage the only grassroots youth organisations that are immersed in Youth Culture and creativity. It has been a place of safety for young people who are living on the streets, an outlet for young people without a voice, and a sense of family for young people who cannot live at home.
Narelle Clay wears many hats – CEO of Southern Youth and Family Services (SYFS), Youth Worker, Mentor, and Advocate for Social Justice. For 35 years she has supported many young people in the Illawarra, Shoalhaven, South West Sydney, and the Southern Tablelands of NSW.
Narelle has been a Member of the Prime Minister’s Council on Homelessness, a Member of the National Advisory Group Better Futures Local Solutions, a Member of the NSW Homelessness Alliance, a Member of the National Data Users’ Advisory Group, a Member of the NSW FACS Homelessness Data Advisory Group, a Member of the Southern Region’s Area Managers Group, as well as various other Commonwealth, State and Local Government Advisory processes. She believes everyone should have the opportunity to achieve their aspirations and works hard to secure housing, education and training opportunities, employment, secure income and a decent standard of living for all young people who seek her support.
Glen is a Kamilaroi nation man who has been advocating for youth rights for the past 20 years. Glen has engaged in advocating for youth rights since he was a young person himself, he started by volunteering in numerous youth advisory positions, such as the NSW Premier Youth Advisory Council, Regional Board of Youth Affairs and he founded the first Moree Youth Council. Glen was twice named Moree’s Young Person of the Year and his fierce passion for youth rights has developed into a powerful career as a youth worker. For the past 16 years Glen has supported rural young people and Aboriginal young people in Moree while working with the Miyay Birray Youth Service. In his spare time away from working with Miyay Birray Glen supports young people who are navigating the criminal justice system and the juvenile detention space. Glen was also a pivotal member of Youth Action's (YAPAs) Aboriginal advisory group that held the first NSW Aboriginal Youth Conference, bringing together delegates from all around the state to develop an Aboriginal Youth Policy which was delivered to the Premier and Minister for Aboriginal affairs.
Glen is an incredibly dedicated youth worker who will go to any length to advocate for the young people he works with. He has never been afraid to represent young people's views in the toughest of spaces, and against the toughest opposition.
Glen has dedicated his career to providing space and empowerment for young people and is an especially strong advocate for the rights and voices of Aboriginal young people. Glen is a tireless Youth Worker who is thought of as “the person who is always there, any time, any day, whenever needed” by his peers and the young people he works with.
Russell started as a volunteer at WAYS in 1987, and was the Chief Executive Officer of WAYS Youth & Family from 1989 until his passing in October 2019. Russell is responsible for the unbelievable growth and achievements of the wonderful organisation that is WAYS Youth & Family. As CEO, Russell always endeavoured to ensure that WAYS programs and activities are totally directed towards the needs of the young people and their families in the area.
Russell dedicated his life to WAYS and the young people it serviced, no one was turned away, he did everything to make sure they were kept safe and listened to. He was an advocate for young people everywhere, he spoke up and supported them when their voices needed to be heard.
Russell was a true visionary and innovator with an admirable sense of social justice. He has positively impacted careers and shaped people’s lives for the better.
Samantha King has been working in the Youth Sector in the Northern Beaches / Northern Sydney region for the past 17 years with the Business Education Network. She has been an ongoing advocate for young people entering the workforce and in more recent years, the broader support for young people in their transition from adolescence to adulthood / from secondary education to the journey that lies beyond.
Through her role at the Northern Beaches Youth Interagency as Chairperson she has ensured that the voice of young people is utilised for development of key projects to ensure the highest rate of success and support from young people.
Graeme made the big leap from the corporate to the community sector over 15 years ago to concentrate on his passion for supporting young people on their sometimes difficult journey to independence. Graeme has a relentless attitude when it comes to uplifting those around him. His nature is calm and joyous, even in the most stressful of situation he is able to remain calm and dedicated to supporting those around him.
Graeme never compromises to deliver dedicated outcomes to young people, he remains patient and consistent with each young person he meets. As a manager at CORE Community Services he continually drives the over arching importance of empowering young people to make their own choices and strive for independence.
In 2013 Youth Action founded the NSW Youth Work Awards to create an
annual celebration of the exceptional work of youth services and youth
workers across NSW.
The awards are an opportunity for the NSW Youth
Work Sector to recognise youth workers, services, groups and projects
who provide an outstanding contribution to the health, safety and
wellbeing of young people in NSW.
They are a platform to highlight
the value of youth work and youth workers in NSW, and share their
stories to government and the wider community.