Youth Action Profiles


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Youth Action's Profiles highlight what young people can do when they are given opportunities to make an impact in community and the non profit sector. A regular Q&A profiling the great work of our youngest game changers.

 

Could you tell us a bit about yourself? 

Yaama maliyaa, I'm Ally Carter (she/her), a proud Gamilaroi woman from a rural town in North-West NSW, Moree. Growing up in Moree and seeing the struggles faced by Indigenous people and those living in rural areas, I felt I had a responsibility to act and advocate for a more just and sustainable future. I’m currently completing a Bachelor of Social Science with a double major in Politics and Social Justice at Macquarie University, with the hope of going into a policy making area that relates to Indigenous peoples and communities. I also work at the Indigenous centre, Walanga Muru, where I go to different schools to teach Indigenous students from years 7-10 about culture, leadership and university.

Why did you decide to become a part of Youth Action’s Health Literacy Project, Ask For Health?

When I found out about the Youth Action Health Literacy Advisory Council through Walanga Muru's weekly newsletter, I knew that my experience of being a young Indigenous woman from rural NSW, would be beneficial in creating a project that reflects the needs of Indigenous people and those living in rural areas. Living rurally, I’ve witnessed and experienced limited health care services and inadequate resources provided to rural towns. Coming from this, I wanted to be a part of a program that would hopefully bring light to this issue, and help youth within these communities better access and understand health care services. Mainly, I want to be able to elevate the needs of young people, particularly Indigenous youth, when it comes to accessing the healthcare system.

Why do you think it’s important for young people to learn to advocate for themselves?

The voices of young people are integral to our future. Each young person brings something unique and different to the table, and young people must learn to advocate for themselves and their community. In learning to advocate for themselves, young people can overcome barriers and make sure policy reflects their experiences and needs. My parents always taught me to use my voice in hopes of making a positive difference to society, and all young people should do the same. 

Why is it important for young people’s voices to be included in decision making processes?

Young people are often excluded from decision making roles. However, young people are our future, and their voices need to be included so that they are able to help shape a future that we want and need. Decision making enables change, and the voices of young people with diverse needs and experiences will enhance more reflective decision making. We need youth to drive change within our society; a change that Australia needs. 

What are you involved in right now?

I am currently involved with the Health Literacy Advisory Committee for Youth Action. With Youth Action, I've also been given opportunities to speak with Ministers about the needs of young people. I am also the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander SRC Representative for Macquarie University, where I am able to represent mob and ensure their voices are being heard and prioritised. 

Would you encourage other young people in NSW to join a youth advisory group or a consultancy project and why?

100%! Joining youth advisory groups can be so empowering and a great learning experience. Even if it's something new for you, your life experiences, opinions and knowledge are important and can bring so much to the group. Being a voice advocating for change is always rewarding, and a chance for you to be surrounded by other empowering youth who are doing great things within their own communities. 

What advice would you give a young person who might be a little nervous about joining a youth advisory group or committee for the first time?

Definitely don't be scared or nervous! As someone who struggles with impostor syndrome, I know first-hand how difficult it can be to try new things, put yourself out there and be surrounded by other strong and high achieving youth. However, this shouldn't stop you. The things you bring to the table are important and invaluable, so get in there and raise your voice for change. If you're someone who doubts themselves, remember that you're there for a reason and that your experiences and skills are valid and important. I would also suggest researching other similar projects and programs, so you know what you're getting yourself into, and come up with ideas that you can bring to the group. I would also research government policies and staying up to date on what the government is implementing so that you can make effective change within the youth advisory group or committee. Also, when you're representing a group of people, such as young people, make sure you talk to them and find out their opinions, thoughts and experiences. Make sure you are correctly representing them and fighting to make sure their needs are being met. 

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Could you tell us a bit about yourself? 

Hi, I'm Ella Kennedy (she/her) and I am based in the Inner West of Sydney on Gadigal land. I am 22 and completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History and Visual Arts at The University of Sydney. My world was opened up to youth advocation after I faced significant health issues in my teens. I have ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Anxiety, which forced me to become an advocate for myself and my rights. After joining support groups on Facebook and seeing the struggles of my peers in person and on social media, understanding the issues that young people face became really important to me. I am particularly interested in rights and opportunities for young people with disability in arts education, in arts volunteering and jobs and in the wider health system.

Why did you decide to become a part of Youth Action’s Health Literacy Project, Ask For Health?

When I found out about the Youth Action Health Literacy Advisory Council through my ME/ CFS Facebook support group, I knew that my experience of being a chronically ill young person would be beneficial in creating a project that reflects diverse needs and experiences. I also thought that my creative skills would be appreciated, as everyone in the group brings their own talents and skill sets to our council!

Why do you think it’s important for young people to learn to advocate for themselves?

Every young person has unique experiences and struggles. In learning to advocate for themselves, young people become more confident in overcoming barriers, learn skills to bring about important change, and make their voices heard. This benefits not only themselves but also the community they represent. At points in my life I have felt very stuck and I wasn't sure how to be able to move forward and create the life I want to live. Through learning to advocate for myself, I have gained more agency and now I feel like I am more in control of my path.

Why is it important for young people’s voices to be included in decision making processes?

I believe that most young people are very in touch with their needs and can provide an honest and progressive vision to any project! Decision making incites change, and young people's voices reflects the needs of their peers, as well as the paramount issues of our diverse, wider society.

What are you involved in right now?

Youth Action HLAC was the first formal advocacy opportunity that I became involved with and I am so grateful for this experience. I feel like many young people, my former self included, do not know about the world of advocacy and its structured opportunities. I hope that our Ask for Health program, particularly the Peer to Peer training, will introduce many young people to advocacy for the first time! Since I've been part of the Youth Action Health Literacy Advisory Council, I have gained confidence and I am now a 2021 Youth Ambassador for Mental Health Foundation Australia as well.

How is your individual skill set being supported in HLAC?

I have been commissioned to create an artwork for the Ask for Health campaign alongside some other talented artists in our committee! I am currently creating a digital collage which reflects mental wellbeing. It makes me proud to be part of an important project that is involving young people in every step of the process.

Would you encourage other young people in NSW to join a youth advisory group or a consultancy project and why?

I believe that every young person in NSW is highly capable of being a great addition to any youth advisory group or consultancy project! Every experience is valid and it is so important to have a wide pool of experience and knowledge in the creation of meaningful, successful projects. Even if you have no prior experience in this field, you are more than qualified to make fantastic contributions.

What advice would you give a young person who might be a little nervous about joining a youth advisory group or committee for the first time?

I would say to find a project where the commitment requirements match up with the amount of time and effort that you are able to give. This way there is nothing to be worried about! Your voice, skills and experience are invaluable and there will be an advisory group or committee out there that will be the perfect fit. I would suggest to do some brief research on the past projects that a group or committee has been involved with, or reach out to the coordinator of the group for more information so that you can get an idea of the vision of the group. Good luck!

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Could you tell us a bit about yourself? 

I have lived in Jindabyne, Snowy Mountains since 2015 after previously living in Darwin. As sailors, living in Darwin my family developed a strong relationship with the sailing club. It felt like my second home. When we moved to Jindabyne, we went straight to the local sailing club where we were immediately welcomed. Since then, I have become an assistant sailing instructor. I teach little kids to sail, which I really enjoy. I am now on the Committee, advocating for events, changes in structure and courses aimed at females and youth. This role gave me the confidence to join my Local Youth Council, then later the Y NSW online leadership program. In this program we focused on mental health linking to my passion: the health system. It was this love for the health system and my goal of one day working in it that led me to HLAC.

Why did you decide to become a part of Youth Action’s Health Literacy Project, Ask For Health?

Having had personal experience where I had to access the health system the whole experience was overwhelming and disconcerting. All of this was amplified by the fact that I was from a rural town. As I progressed through school, I came to the realisation that eventually I would be thrust into a big city, and would need to rely on the limited information I know, to navigate the health system. This prompted me to take the step to learn about it and help other young people understand it better.

Why do you think it’s important for young people to learn to advocate for themselves?

Advocating for yourself is a skill that is vital not only to the issue itself but also to the individual. Through advocating, I have transformed from a shy girl terrified of public speaking, to using my voice for the things I am passionate about. I feel like I can now contribute to be one extra voice together with many, to fight for what I believe in.

Why is it important for young people’s voices to be included in decision making processes?

Youth are the voices and leaders of a world that is coming into being. I know it sounds like a cliché but it is true. The decisions made today will impact us in the future. Youth drive changes in the world, whether it is through creation, protest or advocacy, so it is so important that we are included.

What are you involved in right now?

I am privileged to be part of the Health Literacy Advisory Council where I enjoy the input that each member relays in our co-design process. I am also 1 of 5 in my local Youth Reference Group for Headspace currently working on making this service more prevalent in the Jindabyne community. After the sailing season ends in summer, I am involved in committee decisions all year round constantly advocating for female inclusion and training of juniors.

Would you encourage other young people in NSW to join a youth advisory group or a consultancy project and why?

Joining a youth advisory group or consultancy project is a life changing experience. I have learnt so much so far in the Health Literacy Advisory Council and seen the hard work, time and decision making that occurs in the design part of a project. Having a voice in an advocating environment really empowers youth. We are always supported by amazing coordinators who make us feel amazing.

What advice would you give a young person who might be a little nervous about joining a youth advisory group or committee for the first time?

Feeling nervous is a natural reaction to anything new. I was so nervous the first time, but it is amazing how you grow as a person when you do. Go for it!

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Could you tell us a bit about yourself? 

My name is Joshua Abrokwah and I am 15. I currently attend Year 10 at St Patrick's Parish School, a K-10 Catholic School where I am also the School Captain and a part of the Student Leadership Team. I moved from Wentworthville, a suburb in Sydney, 5 years ago, to Cooma, a country town in the Snowy Monaro Region, where I now live with my family.

Why did you decide to become a part of Youth Action’s Health Literacy Project, Ask For Health?

When I first found out about Ask For Health, I was quite interested in the advocacy aspect of the project because I am already in a few community groups and youth councils. When I started to research and look into what the project was all about, it reminded me of a childhood experience I had. When I was young, I was having unexplained seizures and it was a tough time for my family. Eventually, as I got older I got better and it went away. As I was so young, I wasn't given much knowledge about the condition or what services I could access. I thought that through this program, I could learn about the health system and maybe even contribute some insight and ideas I have as a child who experienced chronic illness.

Why do you think it’s important for young people to learn to advocate for themselves?

I feel that youth in the modern world are misunderstood. We are often seen as obsessed with social media, dramatic, rebellious and careless. I feel that this stigma really impairs a lot of passionate youth from communicating the issues they see in their community or area in a way they can be heard and considered. Learning to advocate and communicate ideas in innovative ways, is a great skill for youth to learn. Self advocating enables them to voice their own views and take on initiatives that benefit their communities and local areas. Gaining advocating skills and abilities at an early age will allow youth to have skills for the future to use in their future careers and fields of expertise, including politics and advocacy.

Why is it important for young people’s voices to be included in decision making processes?

It is very important that the opinions and thoughts of youth are at the heart of decisions affecting them. Young people being included increases youth engagement and allows them to become more aware and responsible for the wellbeing of their fellow peers and the wider community. Not only does youth inclusion in decision making increase accountability, it gives them a glimpse of how decisions are made in politics, large corporations, businesses and government, if they consider a career in these areas.

What are you involved in right now?

I have been a part of the local Youth Council as a Youth Councillor for three years, which has given me a chance to see the inner workings of local government. I have also played an active role in advocating for mental health as a member of the local Headspace Youth Reference Group and recently joined the NSW Health Literacy Advisory Council, which tackles the issue of youth accessibility of the health system.

Would you encourage other young people in NSW to join a youth advisory group or a consultancy project and why?

I would definitely recommend joining a youth advisory group, whether it's a local or state group. It's eye opening to see how decisions are made in government and what skills and abilities are required to successfully communicate ideas and opinions. This kind of experience would benefit a lot of kids with great ideas and passionate voices.

What advice would you give a young person who might be a little nervous about joining a youth advisory group or committee for the first time?

If you are worried about being good enough or smart enough for these types of groups, all you need is an idea and the courage to express it. If you're scared of public speaking and joining an advisory group, you need to know that the focus is not on you and your fear, the focus is on your idea and your courage to express it.

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Could you tell us a bit about yourself? 

I’m Mikaela (she/her) and I grew up in a rural town in northern NSW, Bundjalung Country, Kyogle. I got involved with the community services sector after graduating my Bachelor of Social Science (Development) and starting work at my local Council. I was given the opportunity to reinvigorate Kyogle’s Youth Advisory Committee, and since then the opportunities have extended to speaking on regional panels, taking part in state forums, successfully securing further grant funding for the committee and being involved in the Health Literacy Advisory Committee for Youth Action!

Why did you decide to become a part of Youth Action’s Health Literacy Project, Ask For Health?

Through my attendance at a state youth forum, I met someone who worked for Youth Action. After returning to Kyogle, I realised how limited opportunities were for people from rural areas to get involved at a state level simply because of the travelling distance. I emailed Youth Action asking if I could take part in an internship opportunity, however was told that because of where I lived it would not be possible. I was then offered to represent regional youth on the first Ask For Health Working Group, an offer I gratefully accepted. 

Why do you think it’s important for young people to learn to advocate for themselves?

Currently a lot of smaller local governments do not have the resources to adequately support Youth Advisory Committees, however they’re an integral part of engaging young people in informing  the decision making process. If you don’t push for your voice to be heard, it won’t be. You have nothing to lose by trying.

Why is it important for young people’s voices to be included in decision making processes?

It’s imperative that young people realise the role they have in wider society, and know that they have the agency to lead in their community. At the end of the day, young people will be the ones living with the long-term outcomes of decisions being made today, so we should be at the fore in decision making processes. 

How can people get involved in youth advocacy? 

I would highly suggest visiting your local Council and organising a meeting with their community development officer to ask about Council’s youth engagement strategies. If a Youth Advisory Committee exists, this person will know, and if it doesn’t, this person will be able to support you. If you’re not able to do this, getting in contact with your local youth centre and/or headspace is another great place to start. If nothing exists, there are no rules against you starting your own. Also I know a lot of these profiles are from ‘older’ young people who have degrees, but if you’re interested in an area and want to pursue it, don’t feel discouraged by what already exists - there are a LOT of people who will support you along the way!

What are you involved in right now?

I am currently involved with the Health Literacy Advisory Committee for Youth Action, have ongoing involvement with Kyogle Youth Advisory Committee, have spoken on a regional panel regarding youth engagement for Northern New South Wales Local Health District, and have attended state events specifically designed for youth advocacy. I also recently secured funding from the NSW Youth Opportunities Grant to run a program around the Kyogle area which will improve access to relevant employment opportunities for local young people! 

Would you encourage other young people in NSW to join a youth advisory group or a consultancy project and why?

Absolutely! You’re the expert on young people in these environments - there is no right/wrong answer, only what is most relevant to you. There are plenty of opportunities around, you just need to know where to find them. I have had a lot of fun working in youth advocacy, have ensured that projects are being developed that are relevant to young people and have gained a lot of skills and experience which I’m able to carry into the workforce.

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Could you tell us a bit about yourself? 

My name is Jahin and I have been a youth advocate, author, public speaker, policy advisor and youth
consultant ever since I graduated high school in 2018. From seeing the struggles of migrants and
individuals of culturally linguistic background in my community from a very young age, I felt an
innate responsibility to act and advocate for young people and play a role in shaping a
sustainable future. Since graduating from school, I have been involved with a number of youth-led
and not-for-profit organisations such as the Red Cross, Headspace, Oaktree, World Vision and United
Nations Youth to name a few. I am currently studying Optometry parallel to my advocacy and
campaigning.

Why did you decide to become a part of Youth Action’s Health Literacy Project, Ask For Health?

To be able to elevate the needs of young people when it comes to accessing the healthcare system
and more broadly, understanding it.

Why do you think it’s important for young people to learn to advocate for themselves?

I am a firm believer that young people are the leaders of today. We have so many issues that the
youth are suffering from yet not much is done in addressing them by decision-makers. Taking action
as a young person is a powerful step in creating a more sustainable and inclusive future and we are
responsible in playing a crucial role in that.

Why is it important for young people’s voices to be included in decision making processes?

Young people have a lot to say but need a platform for that to be propagated. They need a seat on
the table when decisions are made so that crucial perspective is heard and not ignored.

What are you involved in right now?

Since graduating from school, I have been involved with a number of youth-led and not-for-profit
organisations such as the Red Cross, Headspace, Oaktree, World Vision and United Nations Youth to
name a few. I am currently studying Optometry parallel to my advocacy and campaigning.

Would you encourage other young people in NSW to join a youth advisory group or a
consultancy project and why?

Absolutely! Joining advisory groups is empowering. It gives you the platform to be honest and be a
voice not only for yourself but for the groups of people that are unheard. It is immensely rewarding
and teaches you lessons that are invaluable in the long-term.

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Could you tell us a bit about yourself? 

My name is Georgia (she/hers). I'm a Psychology Honours graduate with a passion for promoting mental health awareness. I also advocate for those with lived experience, LGBTQIA+ and youth through my participation on Advisory Boards for local Primary Health Networks. 

Why did you decide to become a young person member of Youth Action? 

I came across Youth Action through a Zoom session run by Tamika Worrell presenting on young people on boards. I was really inspired by hearing about her experiences as the Youth Action Chair & also from my networking with other like-minded, passionate young people. I was really keen to become a member and have access to many more great opportunities like that one. 

What do you value about your membership?

I really love that there are so many great free & paid opportunities for professional development offered through Youth Action. So far I've found that they cover a range of topics that I myself as a young person have really benefited from learning about. I also value that the YAPRAP's promote a lot of relevant events and opportunities for young people. 

What do you believe is the role and the importance of a peak body?

To be a genuine advocate for that particular community, provide the members of that body with unique opportunities, experiences & knowledge that they may not have otherwise been aware of. Youth Action is definitely achieving that vision. 

What are you involved in right now that involves opportunities for young people?

I'm currently working alongside a female, young artist & a youth worker to deliver a Youth Art Exhibition in Wollongong called 'Youth: Dismissed'. We are showcasing the work of forty undiscovered, upcoming & current artists aged 12-25. Our opening night coincides with International Youth Day on Thursday the 12th of August, which we're really excited about! 
I'm also an active volunteer Youth Reference Group member at headspace Wollongong.

Why do you think opportunities like this are important?

These opportunities are so important because as our exhibition title states, often young people are dismissed with their skills and talents not being truly recognised. Maybe they haven't had the right opportunity to showcase their strengths, or haven't had enough experience to allow them to pursue their next step. It's crucial that young people are provided with platforms which elevate & highlight how talented they truly are. 

Would you encourage other young people in NSW to become a member of Youth Action and why?

Yes! Absolutely. If you want to hear about issues which are genuinely relevant for young people and be provided with unique opportunities to network and learn new skills, joining Youth Action is a no brainer. I highly recommend that every young person join & get involved with Youth Action in any way they can. 

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Lisa Lewis

Youth Action Board Member

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Could you tell us a bit about yourself? 

Hi, I'm Lisa! I am a Master of Social Science student who is passionate about advocating for equitable, inclusive and justice-oriented change. I am a sociologist at heart but my postgraduate major is Development, Security and Sustainability. I'm proud to be a newly-elected member of Youth Action's Board of Governance.

What drew you to apply for a role on the Board at Youth Action? 

I nominated for this position because I admire Youth Action's work. It was a good fit for me because the ethos of the organisation align with my professional, personal and disciplinary orientation. I'm also an avid volunteer who loves to engage in new spaces! 

What do you believe is the role and importance of a peak body?

Peak bodies serve the community in a multitude of ways. This includes conducting research, facilitating community consultations and representing their members in complex decision-making spaces. They are a space for mobilisation, strategic planning and knowledge dissemination. Due to the intangible nature of their work, sadly the service that peak bodies provide is often under-recognised.

How would you like to contribute to the organisation's work? 

I would love to apply an intersectional consideration to every initiative that I am able to influence! Drawing on my experiences as a young person, woman of colour, immigrant and a proud resident of Greater Western Sydney, I think it is important to recognise that each young person has individual barriers. I also think this is a great opportunity for me to practice allyship and learn more about other communities. 

What has your previous experience given you that will help you in your current role? 

The skills that I've gained through years of studying, working and volunteering will enable me to contribute confidently through this position. Although the development of my public speaking, persuasive writing and interpersonal skills is still ongoing, I can feel my advocacy improving with each initiative I contribute to. I think being 23 will probably be my biggest asset because I have been able to move through youth spaces so smoothly - which gives me insight into the cultural undercurrent.  

Why is it important for young people's voices to be included in decision making processes?

We will never achieve robust, well-rounded or democratic decisions if youth are not empowered to contribute. Without opportunities for meaningful participation, young people can become disengaged from formal discussions; something I have experienced personally. It is important that each new generation is guided into our established decision-making spaces, to ensure that there is always a succession of new leaders. 

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Murray Gatt

Youth Action Western Sydney Policy Officer

 

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Could you tell us a bit about yourself? 

My name is Murray and I am very excited to have recently started as the youngest member of the Youth Action team. I grew up in the Blue Mountains on the lands of the Darug and Gundungura people and am now living on Gadigal land in Sydney. I have completed a Bachelor of Arts and am currently enrolled in my second last year of a Bachelor of Laws. I enjoy looking after my plants and my personality type is ESFJ-A.

What drew you to apply to work at Youth Action? 

I was drawn to apply for this role at Youth Action due to the organisation's work aligning with my interests and values. I have a strong interest in systemic social, economic and environmental issues and their impact on our day-to-day lives.

What do you believe is the role and the importance of a peak body?

Peak bodies, such as Youth Action, play an essential role in advocating for their constituents at a systemic level. They are well positioned to meaningfully engage with and represent widespread concerns to government, business and society.

How would you like to contribute to the organisation's work? 

While I look forward to contributing to Youth Action in different ways, in line with my studies and previous experience, I am particularly eager to participate in work around the criminal justice system. I have a strong interest in improving interactions between young people and the law. I also hope to see law reform so that our legal system reflects the values of young people in NSW. 

What has your previous experience given you that will help you in your current role? 

My past experience has allowed me to work alongside other young people in different environments and developed my skills such as team work and research. Volunteering with organisations including Just Reinvest NSW and the Northern Territory Legal Aid Commission was very important for me developing an understanding of my interests, strengths and weaknesses.

What advice would you give to other young people applying for an entry level position at a non profit organisation with a youth focus?

Explore your interests, research organisations you would like to work for and make applications. Don’t be disheartened if you are not successful and learn from the application process for next time. 

Why is it important for young people's voices to be included in decision making processes?

Young people are significantly impacted by many decisions, however often excluded in decision making processes. Like many of us, I always think of climate change. Young people’s futures are at stake and their voices should be at the forefront of decision-making. 

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Loreena Wells

Youth Action Administration Assistant
 

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Could you tell us a bit about yourself? 

My name is Loreena and I am a young person who has been working as Youth Action’s Administration Assistant for a year. Before Youth Action I worked as an OOSH supervisor/assistant and music tutor while studying.

What drew you to apply to work at Youth Action? 

After studying a Bachelor of Social Science at the University of Wollongong, I knew that I wanted to work at an organisation that aligned with my values. Youth Action not only values the incredible contributions that young people and youth services make in our society, but it values its staff and the work that we all do.

What has been your experience working for a peak body for young people?

My experience has been meaningful and eye-opening. Young people face such diverse experiences, so it has been amazing to learn about some of those experiences. Hearing from our members and other organisations that we work with about their programs and the impacts that they have on the young people in their community has been incredibly rewarding.

What do you believe is the role and the importance of a peak body?

I think a peak body is such a powerful advocacy tool. From my experience working at Youth Action, I can see just how important it is to our staff that the voices of young people and youth workers are heard and acted upon. The individuals at Youth Action are constantly improving their relationships with decision makers and this has the potential to create great outcomes.

Favourite moment? 

Getting the phone call that I had received this job was a moment I’ll never forget. As a young person who struggled to gain full time employment, I was overwhelmed by the knowledge that I had gotten a job, and at an organisation that so strongly aligned with my values too. I think I smiled for a whole week after that phone call!
Performing some impromptu karaoke for the team after a team-building day was also a fun moment…

Most challenging? 

As someone in a junior position it can be hard to express your opinions and thoughts to people who have so much more experience than you. The Youth Action team are constantly encouraging me to share my opinions by showing that they’re valued, but it is a difficult obstacle to overcome.

What would you recommend to other young people applying for an entry level position at a non profit organisation with a youth focus?

It is easy to get disheartened when applying for jobs, so take time to look after your mental health and just keep trying. Think about the skills you have that may not be obvious on a resume and brainstorm how you could apply those skills to the job you are interested in.

What advice would you give to them?

Learn as much as you can from your colleagues and people in the community that you work with. Entering adulthood is a confusing and challenging time but, from my experience so far, it is also a time where you start to learn so much about the world. Be a sponge and absorb it all with an open mind!
 

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Rowena Tran

Board of Governance Member

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Could you tell us a bit about yourself? 
Hi, I’m Rowena! I am a first generation Australian - my parents were born in Vietnam, and grandparents were born in China. I currently work for NSW Health in the COVID-19 State Health Emergency Operations Centre. I have been a board member for Youth Action since 2018.

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How did you become a board member of Youth Action?
I first heard about Youth Action when I was in the Fairfield Youth Advisory Committee. Our Community Projects Officer for Youth introduced me to Youth Action and I was (and still am) inspired by the work they do.
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What has been your experience being on the board of a peak body for young people?
I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to contribute to the work of Youth Action and to give young people a voice. It’s been a wonderful experience and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the most amazing people.
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Favourite moment?
Being able to recognise the amazing work that youth workers do at the annual Youth Work Awards evening.
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Would you recommend other young people applying to be a board member?
Definitely! I would love to see more young people as board members not just in Youth Action, but in all sectors and peak bodies. It’s important that young people from diverse backgrounds and experiences are represented across the board.
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What advice would you give to them?
All young people can add value to an organisation, and you should never feel as though you are not good enough! Be confident and be proud that you can have your voice heard. There are so many opportunities to grow, and there is so much you can learn from the other board members. You will feel supported every step of the way.

 


Jane Choi 

Youth Action's Youngest Board of Governance Member

Could you tell us a bit about yourself? 

I am currently 20, a university student studying law with a strong interest in Human Rights! Being the youngest board member at Youth Action, I aim to provide youth focused consultation amongst experienced legal, financial and organisational members on the table!

How did you become a Board Member of Youth Action? 

I applied for the role in 2019, after long engagement with youth organisations and services, working closely with Youth Action. I knew the former CEO Katie Acheson who inspired me to take further interest in the organisation. 

What has been your experience being on the board of a peak body for young people?

I can confidently say that every member on the board works with a youth centred work ethic! It’s amazing to see how each of us apply our area of expertise to ensure the best interest is met for young people. 

What do you believe is the role and the importance of a peak body?

I think it would be safe to say that a board of any organisation would be considered the head, almost like the brain of the body. Seeing most decisions are made by the Board, it is critical that we approve and consider every motion with the best of our ability. 

Favourite moment? 

I enjoy seeing our members at our 7:30am meetings! Having a laugh over the table with our fruit platters and coffee. 

Most challenging moment? 

At first, I was unsure if I would be able to provide a contribution of great value to the Board of Governance. I came to learn that on the Board all of us have a customised skill asset. It’s not that we’re running at different paces in a race but rather a marathon. 

Would you recommend other young people applying to be a board member?

Yes, more than anything. I think I would be the perfect example and reason for one to apply to join the Board family.

What advice would you give to them?

Interest in Youth Action is the main criteria. However, please do not forget that as a peak body, acknowledgeable and relevant experience is critical! 

 

 


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Tamika Worrell

Chairperson Youth Action Board of Governance


Tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Tamika Worrell, I’m a proud Aboriginal woman, my family comes from Kamilaroi Country and I have been lucky enough to grow up and be raised by Darug Country in Western Sydney. I am the current Chairperson of Youth Action and also an Aboriginal Academic Engagement Coordinator at Walanga Muru, Macquarie University’s Indigenous student centre. I am currently undertaking my PhD on the Text Choice practices of English teachers when embedding Aboriginal perspectives in the classroom.

How did you become the Chair of Youth Action? 

I began my journey with Youth Action in 2015, I was in my third year of Uni and had been selected as part of Macquarie University’s Indigenous cadetship program, which arranges paid work placements for Indigenous students relevant to our studies. I was placed at Youth Action working on the Western Sydney project and loved every minute of it! After a year and a half I finished up and moved onto an education placement.
In 2016 I was co-opted onto the board as a young person member for two years in a row. I was mentored and guided to step into the chairperson role when a vacancy arose and successfully ran for the Chair at our 2018 AGM.

What has been your experience chairing a peak body for young people?

Exciting and challenging. It has been an interesting time for the sector with lots of big wins over the last two years. We have a wonderful board of people with varied relationships with and experiences in the Youth Sector. Most of all, I feel grateful to contribute to the incredible work Youth Action does in amplifying the voice of young people

Favourite moment? 

There have been so many incredible moments in the last few years but seeing the Beyond Stereotypes mural come to life in Parramatta was pretty special! It was a long project and I was so thankful to be a part of showcasing the diversity of wonderful Western Sydney.

Most challenging moment? 

I think during elections periods there are lots of challenges as well as just high energy and high intensity all around!

Would you recommend other young people applying to be a board member?

YES! Young people in governance positions such as board members is so vital to ensure young voices are heard, as well as the voices of young people from marginalised communities.

What advice would you give to them?

It may seem scary, but take the plunge. There are so many training opportunities to learn the ins and outs of organisational governance. Finding a mentor who is a board member, or has experience as a board member can really help too. I would love to see a future Youth Action Board with over 50% young people.