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Wyndham City Youth Services is committed to supporting and promoting the ingenuity and accomplishments of young people across the municipality.

Each month Council will select a Wyndham resident aged between 12 – 25 to be awarded the ‘young person of the month.

The award aims to build the profile of young people who are positively contributing to the Wyndham community and thank them for their dedication. The selected monthly candidate will be a positive role model to other young people in the community who may have similar aspirations and goals.

What the award entails

Winners of the One Wyndham Young Person of the Month will receive:

• A $200 GiftPay gift voucher, for materials that will help with their education, work or voluntary commitments
• A certificate, which they can reference in their CV and job applications
• A professional photo and video showcasing their accomplishments, to be published on Council’s social media accounts and in Council centres
• A profile article in the Council magazine, Wyndham News, and on the One Wyndham webpage
• A bi-monthly advert in the Star Weekly newspaper, highlighting their achievements
• Invitation and participation in the End of Year Youth Celebration in December

One Wyndham Application Form (self-nominate)

One Wyndham Nomination Form (nominate someone else)

August - Blake Jenner

August - Blake Jenner

Please share your own bio/story which best describes why you should be the One Wyndham Young Person of the Month.

I am an artist who creates work around social issues, such as LGBTIAQ+ rights and relationships, mental health issues and issues around body dysmorphia.

I believe that one way to get publicity around issues such as these is to approach them in a unique way.
My perspective comes from growing up in the mental health system and seeing those around me suffering from similar issues, but not being able to express it.

I believe that with art, you are free, to express whatever it is and by expressing this you are then paving the path for people in similar situations to be heard and not hideaway.

What is your community involvement and/or achievements?

I have many achievements;  volunteering at Headspace for four years. I have assisted in health promotional workshops. webinars, interviews, and video-making around LGBTIA+ issues and I have been involved in many Youth Resource Centre programs including the Civic Participation program.

I have submitted artwork into a number of exhibitions and am currently displaying work at the Melton Civic Centre.

In the past, I have given speeches at many LGBTIQ+ events and raised the rainbow flag in Werribee.

I am a positive role model for the young people of Wyndham by setting myself high standards and reaching them.

Please tell us about your current studies, employment or voluntary work.

I am currently studying for a bachelor of Social work. I am absolutely loving it as it gives me chance to not only give back to the community that helped me but help to create new pathways and new programs that have not been initiated yet.

I am a swimming instructor. It gives me the opportunity to connect and form relationships with all kinds of people - young and old.

I volunteer as a health promotion officer. This is a great opportunity and I thoroughly enjoy volunteering with this project, it is something new and challenging each time and it fulfills my expectations.

What are you most passionate about?

I am very passionate about young people’s mental health and LGBRIAQ+ health and wellbeing. Growing up in the mental health system has allowed me to have a unique perspective on how young people are treated differently to adults and how young people do not have as many access opportunities for services around mental health and queer health.

I believe change needs to happen and sooner than later. Some young people are coming out of these services worse than they went in. This may be a conversation people may not want to have, but it needs to be addressed and a plan put in place with the help of the young people so they can access the services they need.

What positive community service have you contributed to?

Recently I took part in an IPC Health project. We created a video for IPC Health's staff to watch and learn. The video was on how healthcare workers and health settings were able to change and grow with Trans and gender-diverse young people in mind.

This video was shown in a webinar with a Q & A session following. I loved this opportunity to be able to be heard and have questions directed at me so that I had that opportunity to answer not only honestly, but with the future young trans or gender diverse young people in mind. I felt like I was able to make a difference for the future young people who access healthcare services and need to have their rights and their identity validated.

How do you influence other young people within the community in a positive way?

I think that people who know me, know that I have been through a lot in my short life and I think that those experiences allow me to be more positive about life.

What are some of the skills or talents you have that could help contribute to an inclusive, thriving community?

I have great communication skills which I have developed from public speaking.
I have an interesting perspective on many issues.
I am good at initiating conversations.
I have life experience, this allows me to be empathetic and to know what works and what doesn't.
I am creative and look for new ways of doing things

What are your hopes and dreams for your future?

I plan on finishing my studies; bachelor of social work and then get a job helping people.  

I plan on creating new services and programs and assisting to enhance established services.

More importantly, I want to make changes and a real difference to young people. So all young people can access the health and wellbeing services they need.

July Winner - Tanya Ajit

 July Winner - Tanya Ajit

Tanya has been an amazing and inspiring member in our newly set up ICE club, Werribee Secondary College very own Investment, Innovation and Entrepreneurship club, and we are learning from her how she had setup her own financial literacy program for youths. She is a highly confident public speaker, with maturity and sensitivity well beyond her age. She is a good team player who cheers her team mates on, and is highly committed to community contributions and an aspiring entrepreneur or corporate leader.

She ensures she spends time nurturing close family and friendship relationships, as she juggles successfully her rigorous IB academic currciulum and modelling career. I am personally investing time to nurture this youth to greater success and be a mentor/life coach for her via our Entrepreneurship club.

She is achieving and sustaining A grade performance in effort, behavior, attitude and learning assessments and that is outstanding given the heavy extra-curricular achievements. If awarded the prize, she will be an exemplary role model to all Wyndham Youth.

What is the nominee’s community involvement and/or achievements?

  • Participating in ‘Youth in Philanthropy’ which is a program for high school students in which they are able to allocate funds to charities using a criteria they make, their judgment on the charities and the charities applications
  • Volunteered at Werribee Salvation Army which allowed me to understand the hardships that people face in or community and help them out, and also to be grateful for what I have.
  • Participated in Miss Teen Galaxy Australia and placed 2nd runner up, Most Photogenic and Miss Congeniality. Australia Galaxy Pageants aims to “provide the motivation and tools for all delegates to become the best possible version of themselves” which was one of my key takeaways from the experience as well as making new friends, representing Victoria, building on my confidence and finding a new passion.
  • In 2019, I completed the ‘Modelling and Grooming’ diploma by Tanya Powell Modelling Agency which has opened many doors for me in the industry. I have worked with a local Indian brand called ‘Couture Mantra’ and recently signed with JR Management. By making my mark in the industry, I aim to promote self-love and acceptance of everyone for who they are.

Please tell us about the nominee’s current studies, employment or voluntary work.

  • In 2019, I completed the ‘Modelling and Grooming’ diploma by Tanya Powell Modelling Agency which has opened many doors for me in the industry. I have worked with a local Indian brand called ‘Couture Mantra’ and recently signed with JR Management. By making my mark in the industry, I aim to promote self-love and acceptance of everyone for who they are.
  • Assistant Dance Teacher at That Dance Place until 2021. This was an amazing opportunity which exposed me to many tricky situations in which I had to think on the spot, communicate with a variety of age ranges such as kids and parents. During 2020, it was very difficult to keep the students motivated as classes were online however by coming up with ways to engage them such as having a show and tell at the end of class worked really well.
  • Participated in X-Culture which is a project designed to offer students an opportunity to work in a Global Virtual Team (GVT) and complete a project for a real business client and, in the process, experience the challenges and learn the best-practices of global virtual collaboration and business consulting. I placed in the top 6.6% out of +5000 including university students and my team placed in the top 27% out of 1277 highly skilled and competitive teams.

What is the nominee most passionate about?

Social Media Manager for My Piggy Bank which is a online literacy platform targeting young stunts and kids to build on their financial literacy. This is an area which kids are not aware of but should be aware of as it impacts their whole lives and how they value the money that they make, thus by working with a team of brilliant minded people from across the world we came up with a platform to educate youth and provide free resources and tutoring in various areas.

What positive community service has the nominee contributed to?

  • In 2019 I was awarded the ‘Year 9 Leadership Potential Award’ which lead to become more involved in the school community. Now, I am currently the Positive Climate for Learning Vice-Captain which gives me the honour in representing our school communities’ voice regarding their learning, the environment they are learning in, what they learn and how they are taught and treated in the school. One of our main goals this year is to implement a successful merit system in which students are rewarded for a variety of things such as following the school values. This opportunity allows me to come up with new ideas, analysis data, research and then implement those ideas which is absolutely amazing!
  • Volunteering at the school library has been an absolute pleasure! The staff are incredibly nice and this experience really allows me to dig deeper into my create side whilst giving back to my school community which provides me with so many opportunities and support. Volunteering at the library has taught me many things such as the value of books, coming up with unique ‘month themes’ but most of all, how undescribable the pleasure of helping people out is even without a reward.

How does the nominee influence other young people within the community in a positive way?

  • I have fundraised for ‘Make-A-Wish Foundation’ by going house to house selling cupcakes and protein balls and also fundraised for the ‘Bushfire Foundation’ by doing a fitness boot camp. These were tremendously fun and the idea of helping someone in need with the money I raised was an amazing feeling.
  • I have started my own blog called ‘My Mind Remedy’ which provides a platform for me to motivate and support people in our community as well as provide information on study ethics, reviews, etc. My aim is to share my experiences and what I learned from them as well as express who I am as a person and my views on the world.

What are some of the skills or talents the nominee has that could help contribute to an inclusive, thriving community?

She is a wonderful team player who puts the community needs above her own needs, and is confident to use her intellectual, public speaking skills and determination to serve her community. She is highly empathetic towards the needs of our members in the Entrepreneurship club.

What are the nominee’s hopes and dreams for the future?

She aspires to be a social enterprise entrepreneur, developing her own business to better society and improve financial literacy of youth, and looks forward to furthering her studies in media and business at the university level. She would hope to rise up as a youth leader within the Wyndham council area to develop and implement transformational policies for the advocacy and betterment of youth needs and priorities.

June Winner – Joann Manoj Jacob

June Winner – Joann Manoj Jacob

When I arrived in Melbourne for the first time at five years old, I was quiet, shy and unassuming. I liked writing and reading stories, but not much else. I felt much more comfortable with my nose buried in a good book than I did talking and playing with other children. However, I was blessed to have supportive parents and teachers who pushed me every step of the way to participate and try new things, even if I thought I would fail. Somewhere along the way, I discovered an intense passion for public speaking. The first time that I spoke at a school mass, it is safe to say that I was not very good. I kept looking at my parents in the crowd, who would respond with encouraging smiles, and I rushed through the scripture that I was assigned. However, I will never forget the rush of adrenaline and happiness that ran through me while I spoke in front of an audience for the first time. After this initial spark of interest, I began to take initiative; I signed up for every opportunity that might entail public speaking, from school assemblies to class captaincy. Initially I was awkward in front of people, and I had not yet discovered my speaking style. However, as time went on and I practiced more and more, I became more confident and articulate. To this day, I know that I have many areas to improve in, and I am well aware that I am far from perfect, but I am proud of how far I have come.

What is your community involvement and/or achievements?

In 2020, I entered the Parliament Prize competition, a public speaking contest that challenged the students of Victoria to address an issue that they would discuss if they were a Member of Parliament. I spoke about racial inequality and Indigenous deaths in custody, and I placed first. Additionally, I placed first and second in the Imagination Creation Writing Competition in 2020, for my poems ‘The Final Moments of A Particular Butterfly’ and ‘Marionette.’ I also received the Julia Gillard Award for demonstrating a commitment to civics and citizenship, and was granted a general excellence award and four academic excellence awards for Humanities, Design and Technology, Religion and English within my school, MacKillop Catholic Regional College. In 2019, I was highly commended in the Insight Writing Competition, and I was published in the international magazine, Reader’s Digest, for my anecdote called ‘Chasing Shadow.’ I was a social justice and liturgy leader in 2018, and I wanted to give back to the community, so I organised a fundraiser for Vinnies within my school. It was a gargantuan effort, but I was so proud of the results and we came up with four full bags of groceries to donate. Recently, I sat the entrance examinations for selective entry schools, and was accepted into my first preference, Suzanne Cory High School. I was very sad to leave MacKillop behind, but it had been my dream to attend this school for six years, and I knew that I had to look to the future instead of clinging to the past. I hope to grow, improve and achieve great things, but I will never forget the opportunities that got me to the place where I am.

Please tell us about your current studies, employment or voluntary work

I am currently in Year Nine at Suzanne Cory High School. I am exploring plenty of different subjects and I try to participate in school related activities as much as I can. Recently, I participated in the swimming carnival and qualified for the inter-school swim team, and I am involved in a number of co-curricular activities, such as Debating and Public Speaking and Environment Club. I also hope to join Book Club soon, once the meetings begin to commence. I have also been offered a job at a tutoring centre called MindMax Tutoring, where I make educational videos that teach Maths, Numerical Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning and Reading Comprehension to youth. I am very grateful for this opportunity, because I truly believe in the power of education, and hope that I can pass on some of my knowledge.

What are you most passionate about?

I am passionate about civil rights and equality. I believe that everyone should be given opportunities to succeed and thrive in life, regardless of their gender, ethnicity, sexuality or financial status. I am humbled by the chances I have been presented with, and I am aware of my privilege to live in a first world country with parents who are able to provide and care for me. I know that not everyone is born with the same luxuries, and after visiting the Melbourne CBD on the mandatory school city week trip, I could finally visualise this for myself. It was eye-opening to see people sleeping in graffitied alleyways that reeked of urine and sitting outside restaurants with their hands cupped out in front of them, desperate for loose change. Where I had previously only been able to see statistics, now I see people. I felt an urge to inspire change, and I sincerely believe that we as a nation cannot move forward until we have righted past wrongs, whether that be with the Indigenous people, whose land and dignity we have stolen on so many occasions, or for the growing population of homeless individuals.

How do you influence other young people within the community in a positive way?

I try to influence young people in the community in a positive way by helping them to understand the importance of education, and by teaching them as much as I know when it comes to subjects that I am confident in, such as English. I do this through the tutoring organisation that I work for part-time, and also in informal settings, such as with friends or family friends. I pride myself in encouraging others around me to participate in everything they can, even if they feel unsure. I have encountered so many people with a great deal of talent but not enough self-confidence to do things like enter an art competition, or audition for a musical. I always tell these kinds of people to just do it, because honestly, what’s the worst thing that could happen? If you are rejected, then that’s completely normal and you can just move on. If not, you have an accomplishment that you can be proud of. It takes a lot of bravery to attempt something that you are not familiar with, and every time I see someone step out of their comfort zone to strive for their best, it brings a smile to my face. I can certainly say that I might not have participated in the amount of things that I have if I had not had the support from my amazing family and teachers. I just want to pass this same support on to people who might need it.

What are your hopes and dreams for your future?
In the future, I hope to enter law and eventually politics. I want to help create a nation where people are not discriminated against, a nation where laws are just and enforced fairly, a nation where people can work together to save the environment and preserve our unique culture for future generations. I know that these are lofty goals, but I will do my best to achieve them. I believe in democracy and equality, and if I ever do end up in Parliament House, every action that I take will be done with the best of intentions for our country and all its inhabitants. Australia has given me so many pathways to success, and I want to give back to this country so that everyone can experience the same love, opportunities and care that I was blessed with.

May Winner - Syazwani Saifudin

May Winner - Syazwani Saifudin

Entering high school, I struggled with body dysmorphia. Negative body image degraded my confidence severely. Eventually, after finding an amazing group of friends, I started loving myself. Overcoming this huge part of my life boosted my confidence and changed my perspective completely. I take on leadership roles, volunteer, participate in competitions and am actively involved in school clubs. I’ve learnt that once you’re confident in yourself, you start focusing on what you can change rather than what you can’t. I couldn’t change my family’s difficult financial circumstances, but in 2018 I was awarded a 3-year scholarship which helped with my education. Despite my young age, I’ve involved myself in my community and my school. I would love to be awarded Young Person of the Month to further spread my journey and the importance of body positivity.

What is your community involvement and/or achievements?
I am currently a student representative council member for my year level and have consistently been voted/selected as one since 2016. This means that I contribute to fundraising initiatives, make posters for my school, chaperone at important school events and serve as a bridge between my cohort and the teachers/principals. My love for languages and writing has also encouraged me to participate and win awards in several competitions such as Imagination Creation Writing Competition, Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards, EP Global Language Championships and Swinburne University’s Junior Italian Poetry Competition. As a black belt in taekwondo, I’ve also medaled in many competitions, most notably, in The Australian National Taekwondo Championships. I have also achieved 15 honours, a junior academic excellence award, and a distinction in the 2019 Australian Mathematics Competition in addition to participating in the Victorian High-Ability Program and First Lego League Australia (a robotics program).

Please tell us about your current studies, employment or voluntary work
I am a 14-year-old student in year 9 and am the current Dux of my year level. I volunteer at cleanups and am a regular volunteer at Wyndham Little Buddies Toy Library, which aims to support families by allowing parents/carers to borrow a large variety of toys, puzzles and games.

What are you most passionate about?
I am extremely passionate about body positivity and strive to help educate more people about how to sensitively approach the subject of body image. I think that social media heavily perpetuates unrealistic, harmful beauty standards and romanticizes eating disorders. I believe that everyone is entitled to confidence and self-love. From my own experience, I understand that change has to start from within and realising your self worth enables you to achieve greater.

How do you influence other young people within the community in a positive way?
I support other young people by discouraging self-deprecating statements and always trying my best to be a positive, approachable person. I strive to inspire others to attempt things out of their comfort zone to boost their confidence, by encouraging them and actively participating in a range of activities myself. For example, although art isn’t my strength, I participated in the International Interdependence Hexagon Project, which is a global not-for-profit art project that aims to spread the meaning of interdependence, and received an honourable mention in my category.

What are your hopes and dreams for your future?
I hope to see more young people empowering one another and being comfortable in their own skin. I hope that more people will realise that beauty comes in so many different forms and that beauty is whatever you define it as. I would love to get a job when I’m old enough, to help out my parents and am working towards a healthcare career.

April Winner - Bradley Gauci

April Winner - Bradley Gauci

Tell us about yourself:

I am a Supported VCAL student at Manor Lakes P12 College undertaking my final year of school. Throughout my time as a VCAL student over Years 11 and 12 I have been actively involved in community-based programs and feel strongly about how important it is to contribute to my local community. I see my disability as a strength that allows me to see people for who they are and be more accepting. I also play a leadership role in the Supported VCAL program for my peers and some of the younger students enrolled in PSD programs.

What is your community involvement and/or achievements?

I’ve volunteered for two years at Salvos Stores (Hoppers Crossing store) one day per week as part of my work experience for school. My tasks at Salvos include; cleaning floors and shelving, disinfecting surfaces, sorting clothing, books and other merchandise, and assisting in the back warehouse. My work experience at school also includes volunteering one day per month at Vinnies warehouse in Altona North and one day a month at Serendip Sanctuary. In addition to this, I volunteer at a Vinnies store in Hoppers every Sunday (outside of my school commitments), sorting clothing, shoes, books, toys and keeping the store looking tidy for customers.

I am also a Parks Victoria volunteer and have volunteered at You Yangs Regional Park on a number of occasions doing labouring work such as re-planting, weeding, clearing, sanding and painting park benches and tables.

In 2020, I volunteered at a Wyndham Food Bank veggie bulk donation from ACAH Nursery in Werribee South, preparing lettuce and basil boxes and loading onto the Food Bank truck. I also participated in a Bunnings Sausage Sizzle and helped raise $700 for my school.

Please tell us about your current studies, employment or voluntary work

I have just obtained my VCAL Certificate at Manor Lakes P12 College and although it has taken me an extra year to complete my studies, I'm very proud of my achievements. I am looking forward to continuing my volunteering at the places listed above, and moving on to the next chapter, hopefully some supported employment or a similar program in Wyndham.

What are you most passionate about?

I'm passionate about young people with disability feeling they can contribute to their communities and to be confident in applying for volunteer and paid jobs. One in twenty secondary students has a diagnosed disability in Victoria and I want to show my peers that everyone has strengths and talents that can be used to help other people and charities in your community. I want to continue to help break down some of the stigma around intellectual disability in our society.

How do you influence other young people within the community in a positive way?
By showing them what can be possible when you put yourself out there and apply for volunteering and other opportunities in the community. Most people are happy to help and support young people with disability, but it is up to us to be confident enough to ask.

What are your hopes and dreams for your future?
Having complete a Certificate II in Food Processing during my VCAL studies, I would love to find permanent employment in cooking or baking, especially if it is involved in my local community in some way, such as a charity like Food Bank or other community kitchens.

March winner- Nicole Bagatsing

Nic

Nicole is a dedicated youth advocate and is active in her community, volunteering for both local and international organisations.

What is your community involvement and/or achievements?
I’ve been on community boards and have volunteered for both local and international organisations, including the Children's International Summer Villages Victoria Chapter, Village Camp, Connection Arts Space, Edmund Rice Camps and Give a Textbook Foundation.  I’ve also been active in the youth space, working as Youth Ambassador and contributing to the Loud Youth Magazine. I’m also part of the Wyndham Civic Youth Program.

Nicole volunteers for the Maccabi Football Club, New Hope Foundation and the Pedro and Corazon Yaneza Wellness Society.

Please tell us about your current studies, employment or voluntary work
I’m currently studying Auslan at Melbourne Polytechnic and my Advanced Diploma of Legal practice at Victoria University. I am currently employed as a Homeless Support Worker for the Covid Hotels Homeless client group. As a Homeless support worker, I work with clients transitioning out of the DHHS funded short term hotel accommodation (due to Covid-19) into long term housing options. My work involves advocating for the homeless, understanding their needs and goals as well as allowing them to make their own life decisions. Day to day work varies, from scheduling Centrelink appointments, supporting with personal affairs, assisting with material aid, or referring clients to counselling or rehabilitation programs.

What are you most passionate about?
I'm passionate about working for young people with young people. I believe young people have got an exciting role to play in the community as next leaders. We need more young people in the space of leadership and decision making! I’d also love to see more diversity. Myself being an Asian Australian immigrant, I'm passionate about giving a voice to minority groups in the different settings I work in in the community.

How do you influence other young people within the community in a positive way?
I influence young people by working with young people, listening to their voice and being their voice. Most times young people need to be heard because they have a lot of opinions and perspectives which are important. I influence them positively by listening in and taking on what issues are present in today's community from their stories. From young people I’ve learned more about homelessness in Australia and Asian Australian diaspora.

I also influence young people positively by bringing forward their views and opinions to decision maker. I do these not only in my board member/youth ambassador roles yet I also do this in my involvement with the Wyndham Civic Youth program where I get to speak to political leaders and bring forward the views of young people.

What are your hopes and dreams for your future?
I hope that more young people in Wyndham continue to be involved in the decision-making space! Whether this is through their local high school leadership program with their council or local not for profits. I hope for myself, that I continue to learn more about what I can do to help our community. Hopefully, there is more diversity in space of leadership, it would be amazing to have more Asian Australian voices as well as other minority groups represented as well. I dream of becoming a Lawyer and hopefully working at a Community legal centre to give access for those who are disadvantaged and cannot afford legal representation.

February winner- Libby Knights

lib

Libby is passionate about mental health awareness and dedicates her time to breaking down barriers and stigmas around mental health, specifically young men's mental health. Libby is also an advocate for gender equality.

What is your community involvement and/or achievements?
I am currently a leader for the Western Bulldogs Youth Leadership Program, a program where a group of selected students in the Inner-West area are given the support to dedicate their free time to raise awareness, fundraise, and help create changes for certain social issues in the community. With my chosen focus being Young Men’s mental health, I, along with two students from different western schools, have created and developed an organisation called ‘Mentalking’. Within two weeks, we worked with BATYRAUS and competed in the ‘Run For The Herd’ virtual festival, running a total of 20km between three of us and raising $1,019 for youth mental health. We have also created an Instagram page ‘wbylmentalking’.

Please tell us about your current studies, employment or voluntary work
I am a leader for the Western Bulldogs Youth Leadership Program, co-founder of ‘Mentalking’ and have worked at a local supermarket throughout Covid-19.

What are you most passionate about?
I am dedicated to the cause of raising awareness and breaking down the barriers and stigma regarding mental health, currently with a focus on young men's mental health. Along with this I am a passionate advocate for gender equality and recognise the need to promote the involvement and participation of females in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

How do you influence other young people within the community in a positive way?
I encourage everyone to be their own individual and unique self. I also try to lead by example and be the best version of myself I can. To help promote the involvement and participation of females in the fields of STEM, I’ve participated in the IT@Work program, where women are encouraged to take part in male-heavy jobs, such as economics, and have used this experience to create connections with fellow like-minded individuals.

I also competed in the Singapore International Science Competition, where I represented the college in an all-female team to promoting STEM to women. I am a Western Regional AFL umpire and have encouraged other girls to take up umpiring.

What are your hopes and dreams for your future?
I aspire to be a teacher. It would be a privilege to have the opportunity to educate children, equipping them with knowledge and skills that they will use for the rest of their lives. I believe this would be a rewarding career.

 

October winner – Mirjana Gligorevic

Mirjana

Mirjana has overcome many challenges in her life and whilst enduring hardships has become a positive role model and advocate for youth in Wyndham.

Please tell us about your current studies, employment or voluntary work.

I completed a certificate IV in Tourism in 2014 and since then have volunteered regularly at Vinnies.

What is your community involvement and/or achievements?
For over 5 years, I have volunteered at Vinnies, which makes things more affordable for people. Vinnies also collaborates with Meals on Wheels, Soup Van, Vinnies Youth and other organisations.

I've also contributed to the World Wildlife Foundation and Save the Children. World Wildlife Foundation helps the environment and endangered animals, and Save the Children provides emergency aid to children and teenagers around the world.

As a teenager, I competed in tennis competitions with people with higher abilities.

How do you influence the other young people within the community in a positive way?

I've nominated other outstanding young people to be recognized and was the voice for the unemployed youth in our community.

I’m also about to release a book about my solo travel experience to encourage more young people to live life to the fullest and follow their dreams, despite their circumstances. I’m hoping people will get something positive out of it. My Balkan Heart will be released on Amazon this December.

What are your hopes and dreams for your future?

To travel the world more, value my experiences and help others where I can.

September winner – Alexander Dalton

September winner – Alexander Dalton

Alexander, 17, is a passionate LGBTIQ+ advocate with a formidable public speaking record.

Please tell us about your current studies, employment or voluntary work.

I am a 17-year-old transgender man and an advocate for change, specifically within mental health and LGBTQ+ rights areas. I have been speaking publicly about my experiences as a young person, a person who has suffered – and still suffers – from mental illness, and as a gender diverse individual.

These opportunities have allowed me to inspire people to be themselves, and help others understand what we’re going through to some degree, particularly concerning the transgender community.

What is your community involvement and/or achievements?

I am the youngest member of headspace Werribee's Youth Advocacy Group, where I have revamped our schools workshops to make them more applicable and relatable to young people.

I have presented speeches for Orygen and Wyndham City and spoken at events such as the Midsumma Festival. I’d like to think that my speeches have made a positive contribution to those in the community who have heard them.

How do you influence other young people within the community in a positive way?

I influence young people to be themselves – whatever that looks like. Whether they’re trans/gender diverse, queer or insecure about who they are. I encourage them to realise their worth and their potential, and show them that they are greater than they think they are. That everything is going to be okay. That they’re going to be okay.

What are your hopes and dreams for your future?

I hope to move into public speaking full-time with the possibility of politics in my sights. I think it will be the most effective way to advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and promote mental health, particularly from a financial and legal standpoint, which, I find, is where a lot of advocacy can fall short or fails to be heard.
 

August winner – Phoebe Edwards

August OneWyndham winner – Phoebe Edwards

Phoebe, 17, is a dedicated environmentalist who is taking both local and global action to make the world a more sustainable place.

Please tell us about your current studies, employment or voluntary work.

I am in year 12 at Wyndham Central College studying VCE. For the past seven years I have been participating in Beach Patrol 3030 clean-ups and been involved with organisations such as the Werribee River Association.

What is your community involvement and/or achievements?

I went on an expedition with World Challenge to Malaysia and Borneo for a month, where we assisted in the conservation of green sea turtles at Tanjung Datu National Park. I have spoken at Sea Life Aquarium's virtual youth summit for World Oceans Day this year.

In my new project, I have been going to my local park each week to clean and sort rubbish so I can learn more about pollution issues in my area.

How do you influence other young people within the community in a positive way?

I participated in a grant committee with the Victoria International Container Terminal, where I achieved a $10,000 grant for Wyndham Central College.

Using this, I have helped plan a project for VCAL students at my school, where we can work with Alma Doepel to build wooden boats that allow students from my school to pick up unreachable rubbish and plastic in local waterways and Port Phillip Bay.

What are your hopes and dreams for your future?

My hope is that the projects I undertake can become my job in the future, and for me to be able to study animal or environmental science next year. My biggest passion that I hope to work towards is implementing more environmental education into school curriculums.

July winner – Logan Tapuala

Logan Tapuala

Logan, 16, is a proud Samoan Australian, who moved to Truganina from Samoa in 2014. Logan has a passion for Siva Afi – a traditional Samoan knife fire dance – and has co-founded a business teaching the skill to Wyndham residents.

Please tell us about your current studies, employment or voluntary work.

I am studying at Tarneit Senior College in year 11. I am cofounder of a business Measina Siva Afi School, where I teach Samoan fire knife dancing.

What is your community involvement and/or achievements?

I have volunteered with Williams Scout Group and other community groups to help run fundraising sausage sizzles, planted trees along James Cook Drive Reserve in Truganina with Truganina Community Group and have worked alongside Pacific Climate Warriors to share the need to fight climate change.

How do you influence other young people within the community in a positive way?

I show them through example that respecting your own culture can help to understand similarities in other cultures, so that we see we are more alike than different.

What are your hopes and dreams for your future?

I want to make a living as a Siva Afi performer and use my skills and knowledge to help others.

December winner – Anastasia Kusmawan

December winner – Anastasia Kusmawan

Anastasia demonstrates leadership and a commitment to sport. Anastasia is also a keen community member and volunteers at local sporting clubs.

Please tell us about your current studies, employment or volunteer work:

I have attended Mackillop Catholic Regional College since Year 7 and have immersed myself in the school community. I have always been told, from a very young age, that I should seize every opportunity I can, and regularly take controlled risks throughout my life. At school, I enjoy participating in a variety of the sports carnivals and competitions, as well as various musical bands and ensemble groups. I have also held several leadership positions over the years, which has assisted many other aspects of my life. Despite my already quite busy schedule, I understand the importance of developing work experience from a young age, and recently became employed after turning fifteen earlier this year. For the past five years, I have also volunteered at my swim club's local Bunnings Barbeques.

What is your community involvement and/or achievements?

I’m involved with numerous communities, from my sporting teams and school, to the local council. It is from such extensive surroundings with various environments, that I have continued to learn new skills and adopt different attitudes. Over the years, I have had multiple achievements, which has broadened my field of participation. In 2019, I was able to travel around Australia and to Europe, to compete in the Youth FINA World Championships. Since the age of nine, I have also travelled interstate to participate in the Australian National Championships. This year, I competed at the Victorian State Championships, and won 6 gold medals, as well as two championship cups in various age categories. I also hold many academic awards, as well as various leadership positions, and continue to search for new limits and possibilities.

I have always been fortunate enough to have very supporting parents, friends, teachers and coaches, which has likely been the most driving cause of my various achievements. I have learned to always work diligently and perform to my absolute best in all cases, which personally, is one of the greatest keys to success.

During my time in isolation these past six months, I have continued to maintain training sessions for a few hours each day online, to sustain my fitness levels. My family has faced personal hardships of our own, like so many countless others, although early on, decided to make the most of my time at home, rather than focus on the negatives. These mindsets and attitudes have thankfully paid off, as I have grown tremendously in all areas.

I have adapted my general schedule to involve up to 35 hours of synchronised swimming each week plus approximately 4 hours of music, whilst remaining on top of my studies, work and personal life. School has always been my number one priority, and I have remained a top-scoring student throughout my entire schooling journey, regularly receiving academic excellency awards.

November winner – Sri Thivashia (Sasha) Sri Deenathayalan

November winner – Sri Thivashia (Sasha) Sri Deenathayalan

Sasha is passionate about social justice and is an active community member. As a new Australian citizen, Sasha is using her time to build connections with Wyndham residents.

Please tell us about your current studies, employment or volunteer work:

I am currently in Year 12, studying VCE. The subjects I’m studying include Psychology, Legal Studies and English and Methods. I would like to go to Deakin University to study a double degree of International Studies and Law. I also volunteer; at the library, for clean-up days and on community projects.

What is your community involvement and/or achievements?

I’ve been involved in multiple community projects across Wyndham, but my most notable achievements involve clean up days with Naturewest and my participation as a finalist in the Wyndham Youth Public Speaking Competition from 2015-2019. I have also volunteered at my local library, with Youth Services with their community projects and coached in my local track and field club, as well as my local calisthenics club.

How do you influence the other young people within the community in a positive way?

As a school captain, I aim to promote a safe space for positive wellbeing and do my best to ensure that everyone feels heard. I do my utmost best to be as supportive as I can and go to great lengths to make sure that student voice is upheld in my role as a captain. In the community, I influence other young people in sport - this includes coaching and educating others in order to motivate them to maintain their wellbeing through a healthy outlet.

What are your hopes and dreams for your future?

My hopes for the future is to be able to advocate for minority groups. Ultimately, my goal is to educate as much of the future generation as I possibly can in order to promote an equal future. One day, I wish to become a lawyer so I can fulfil these hopes and dreams to the best of my ability.

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