Youth Action Profiles


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Looking to highlight what young people can do when they are given opportunities to take on leadership roles, and make an impact as team members in the non profit sector, we have started a regular Q&A profiling the great work of our youngest game changers.

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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.