The Youth Leadersip Roundtable
The Youth Leadership Roundtable (YLR) is the ‘youth voice’ of the Youth Partnership Project. Currently, the group is comprised of a group of 13 inspiring young leaders, aged between 16-25, who provide clear direction, advice and support to the YPP to ensure it is in line with the priorities and needs of young people within the region. These young leaders are inspiring group of young people from diverse backgrounds with incredible stories of struggle, hope and resilience who are now doing exceptionally well for themselves as university students, passionate activists, community leaders, positive role models for their peers and young parents.
In 2015, the YLR coordinated and facilitated the largest youth advocacy event during National Youth Week WA called the Speak Out for Change: Youth Voices on Youth Issues Summit, which consisted of Youth2Youth Consultation Workshops on 16 key youth issues that were attended by over 100 young people from across the Perth region. The event was also attended by over 90 Official Observers, who were the Ministers, Director-Generals, Commisssioners, senior government officials, CEOs of youth organisations, youth workers, as well as community and youth leaders. The YLR's journey to the Summit, and the discussions and recommendations provided by the young people on the day, will be encapsulated in a Summit Report to be released in August/September 2015.
Recently, the YLR was a Finalist in the 2015 WA Youth Awards in the Campaign Capital Organisational Achievement category.
Chace Hill, 23
Chair of the Youth Leadership Roundtable (2016-Current)
My name is Chace Hill. I am a 21 year old Koori man born in Dandenong, Victoria. I moved to Western Australia 12 years ago. 10 years of that have been spent in Armadale where I am currently living.
I have recently finished my degree in Criminology from Murdoch University. I am passionate about youth imprisonment and youth justice, as I believe that young people are the future, and we cannot make the necessary changes from a small prison cell.
Chace's Experience of the YLR:
"Personally, it's been great for personal growth and knowing what role I can play in improving my community. It's been great to know that young people have a voice and be valued for that voice. We're also given the opportunity to increase our skills in a variety of things, like public speaking, policy change, community work, knowing how organisations work, and see how we are able to influence our industry at a systemic level.
Being involved in genuinely engaging the community in the work that we're diong, and providing them with knowledge about issues, services and what's being done to improve their day to day lives has been a great benefit of being part of the YLR and the work that we are doing. I've already wanted to work and have active involvement in the social services sector, so being paid is an incentive to work harder in this sector. And being a young person, being able to make money doing what we want and love to do is definitely a big bonus for me"
Habiba Asim, 18
Vice-Chair of the Youth Leadership Roundtable (2016-Current)
Stereotype. This means categorising a person or thing under a particular theme or idea. Often we think only a particular group of people stereotype, but truth be told, weâ€™re born into a society which is constructed on the basis of stereotypes.
My name is Habiba Asim. I am a 17 year old high school student. I was born in Pakistan and raised in New Zealand. As you have probably guessed – yes, I have been stereotyped on the basis of gender, colour, religion, size and even accent. Often it is hard for people to understand that I am a true Kiwi with a solid Australian accent. But because I don't fit the ‘ideal’ image of what a Kiwi should look like, I face derogatory comments from arrogant, uneducated members of the community.
Alongside me, there are members of the community who face rude remarks on a daily basis for being who they are. This must be brought to an end. For some, this may seem impossible. But that's exactly what some people said 50 years ago when we were told we couldn't put a man on the moon.
Habiba has recently been selected as the WA Youth Representative through YACWA to be part of the National Youth Engaged in Policy (YEP) Project, which is a collaboration between Western Sydney University, the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre (YAW CRC), the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition (AYAC), the University of Sydney, YACWA, YACVic and UBREGO - a multidisciplinary platform of young professionals from around the world, based in Europe.
Habiba's Experience of the YLR:
"I feel like my leadership role in my community has been improved by being part of the YLR. My confidence, knowledge and abilities have definitely increased. It's definitely helped me shape and build my personality in a positive way, I'm not so shy anymore. Being one of the youngest people on the YLR, and as a paid staff member as well, it really showed that we are valued and respected not only in the organisation but also externeally to other people that we speak to. Things like the YLR should happen more often, because it shows that young people's voices, perspectives and experiences are acknowledged and genuinely valued.
I also think that being part of the YLR has given me a really good foot in the door into this industry at such a young age, and acts as a really good reference point professionally moving forward. It's also given me the opportunity to build new connections and networks that I wouldn't have had the chance to otherwise. Also, being paid and having some financial stability has helped me in being independent from my parents to an extent at such a young age, and buy things that I want as a 17 year old. The YLR has also been super supportive of the fact that I have been in school the whole time, and not many work places are flexible to a young person's needs. For example, when I've had Year 12 exams, the group and my managers were completely understanding that I needed time off, and not many workplaces can be like that.
The fact that the YLR is able to speak up on behalf of young people and telling the community about the work that we do shows that young people care about issues that affect everyday people. Also, having young people know that the YLR is there to speak on their behalf, even though they are not part of the YLR, also shows that young people are taking actions and want to improve the lives of their peers"
Courtney Lyon, 18
My name is Courtney Lyon. I'm 18 years old and love helping people.
I study at Central TAFE in Northbridge, finishing my diploma in Event Management.
I wish people would do more research on mental health, especially depression. Depression is known as a bad thing - when I was at my weakest point in 2014, people started to turn away from me and not many people wanted to know me. They all thought I was weird, but little did they know deperession can be caused from a chemical imbalance in your brain. There are many ways to treat depression, and the best for me is medication. If I don't take it, I'm not myself.
The reason I'm a member of the Youth Leadership Roundtable is because I want to make a change in my community, as I think young people need a voice in order for change to happen.
I'm extremely passionate about mental health, bullying and youth employment. I, myself, have been a victim of bullying and suffer clinical depression, but since getting help, I have really shown myself that I'm an amazing person. Through what I have been through, I'm able to help others find themselves, and have become a role model to other young people.
Courtney's Experience of the YLR:
"Some of the personal benefits have been the many networking opportunities that we can take up, as well as building my confidence and learning more about the different community and youth issues around me. The fact that I'm a paid worker makes life so much easier for me, in that I don't have to find another job whilst also being in school. This year, because of being a paid YLR member, I bought my very first car! Now, I'm also able to save for future things, like holidays and a house with my partner.
This has been an amazing opportunity for me, being one of the youngest members of the YLR really helped me shape what kind of person I want to be and what type of work that I want to do into the future. It's given me focus and direction, and I don't know where I'd be if I wasn't part of the group.
The work that we're doing in helping better the community for young people is really rewarding and shows the community that young people care about what's going on around them. The fact that we're talking to young people and really listening to what they have to say is extremely important. We can't improve the community for young people if we don't ask them. And the fact that we as the YLR is able to take these recommendations up to government - it's incredible"
Lloyd Lawrence, 20
My name is Lloyd Lawrence, and I'm 19. I am currently studying my Diploma of Community Services at Central TAFE in Leederville. I am a member of the Youth Leadership Roundtable because I want to help young people.
I understand and uphold the value of everyone's safety and happiness, regardless of background or beliefs. I am passionate about working with people, advocating on their behalf and empowering them to be the best that they can be, and feel the best that they can feel.
I have had first and second hand experience with the devastating effects of mental health illness – factors that cause it and the impact it has – not just on the individual, but everyone around them.
I want my work to be focused on preventing this happening to anyone and everyone. I want everyone's voice to be heard, no matter who they are.
Lloyd's Experience of the YLR:
"I think it's good to be in the position of being able to empower other people, and that in itself is very rewarding and it inspires me to make positive changes. It also gives me firsthand perspective of how my work is benefitting others, in terms of how it allows me the opportunity to relay what needs to be heard to the people that need to hear it.
I get to be surrounded by like-minded people, and this inspires me to do more. There are a lot of opportunities that I would not know about if I wasn't part of this group - either in volunteering or further employment that I can take up if I want. I also have the opportunity to work on the ground, grassroots type of work, and also to try and be part of soemthing bigger, like trying to change the system.
The YLR gives a great opportunity for people who may not be getting 'looked at', because people like me are too young at this stage and may not have the experience to be doing the type of work that we are doing, be paid staff, and also be a recognised member of an organisation like Save the Children. For me, I've see that there are some members of the YLR that may not have the piece of paper that says they're qualified to do something but have the passion, drive and the lived experience to succeed in whatever area of work they want to do. If we weren't given the early opportunity now and a foot in the door to the industry, we probably wouldn't have had the same opportunity elsewhere"
Rachael Ralston, 19
I'm Rachael. I am involved with the Youth Leadership Roundtable because I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. What this means for me is that I have daily joint dislocations (such as hips, ribs, elbows, etc.), organ issues, high risk of organ rupture, and will have a shortened lifespan. This has meant that I have had multiple hospital stays and had to drop out of school, meaning that I have been separated from my peer group.
Because of my condition and my experiences as a young person with a disability, I am extremely passionate about helping all young people, especially those with disabilities. I want for young people with disabilities to be more involved with their able-bodied peers.
I believe that young people with disabilities can do amazing things. They just need some help to get there.
Rachae'ls Experience of the YLR:
"By being part of the YLR, I feel like I've been able to make a difference and take part in opportunities that I wouldn't have a chance to otherwise. For example, at the age of 18 I wouldn't have had the opportunity to speak to Ministers and those kinds of people, have the networks and referees for other jobs in the future, and be able to turn the negative things that have happened in my life into positive actions for others that are like me.
Also, I think that everyone in the YLR has gained a family by being part of such a close knit group. We didn't know one another from a bar of soap, and probably wouldn't have been friends because we're all so diferent and come from different backgrounds.
This group is also extremely considerate of my disability, and allowances have been made that wouldn't have happened in other jobs. It has also given me the opportunity to learn about other youth issues that I haven't been through. So not not only am I strong advocate for young people with disabilities and invisible illnesses, but also for other young people experiencing different youth issues"
Abdirisak Ali, 20
My name is Abdirisak, but most people call me Abdi for short. I am 19 years old and in my last year of a Chemical Engineering degree from the University of Western Australia.
I came to Australia in 2004. Born in Kenya, raised in Australia, I have seen two very different and contrasting societies. From my experiences as a migrant young person, I have become very passionate about education, racism and climate change.
Here in Australia, we take most things for granted, such as education. In developing countries, this is not the case – a quality education is only possible if you had the means necessary to obtain it. This shouldn't be the case. Every child has the right to access an education, so why can't we make this happen?
The environment is another that is taken for granted in developed countries such as Australia. The lifestyle that we lead is unsustainable. We, as individuals, need to step up if we are to ensure the survival of our Earth for future generations.
Keneasha Lindsay, 20
My name is Keneasha Lindsay, and I am a Bardi from One Arm Point and also a Torres Strait Islander studying a double major in Criminology, Forensic Biology and Toxicology from Murdoch University. I was born in Paraburdoo raised in Geraldton and moved to Perth at the age of 12.
My childhood was quite hard as my family experienced financial hardship. I was exposed to alcohol abuse and violence at a young age. I am very interested in youth issues because I experienced them myself and would like to be involved in making a change rather than seeing the same cycle repeat itself for other young people.
I strongly believe that the change should be made through the voice of young people rather than the political sector.
Andrew Yarran, 20
My name is Andrew Yarran. I am 18 years old. I am a young, intelligent Indigenous Australian. I have lived in Beckenham for 14 years and have finished all my schooling in the City of Canning. I currently go to Murdoch University and play various sports.
Education is the best thing you can have in life because it makes everyone equal. I have a passion for education because it's able to put everyone in the same boat. Through education, I have met Julia Gillard, Queen Elizabeth II, Ian Chappell and a lot more people who are considered larger than life.
I know that because of my education, I can be as successful as they are.
Andrew's Experience of the YLR:
"It's been great to make personal and professional networks, give back to the community and further my skills in this type of work. Getting paid to do what I love is amazing - having a bit of income to survive and look after my financial responsibilities is a great incentive for me to be involved. It's also been great to meet inspirational people like other YLR members, but also to make connections with people that are deemed 'unapproachable' like Ministers and CEOs, and being part of the YLR has really helped break down that barrier. Another thing is that being part of this group has really encouraged me to have a louder voice, be a voice for other young people in my community, and helping other young people - especially those in need - to find their voice.
For the community to be able to see young leaders in leading positive change, really challenges the stigma that young people have of us. It's also really good for the community to see some of their young people that have grown up in that are to take up leadership roles, and instead of leaving the community, going back to help the community"
Dianna Wright, 25
My name is Dianna Wright. I'm a 25 year old Nyangumarta woman from Bidyadanga in WA's Kimberley Region. Over the past ten years, I have been involved in many community events and projects including joining Millennium Kids Inc. in 2006 and has since been involved with the MK Team.
I was a finalist in the Environment Category of the 2007 WA Youth Awards, and in 2009, completed the 10-day sailing journey across the Bass Strait on the Young Endeavour giving her a new perspective on leadership and team dynamics.
After working as an Aboriginal Health Worker for 18 months, I found my passion for Aboriginal issues and Mental Health, and became an Enrolled Nurse in 2014. I am now studying my Bachelor of Nursing at the University of Notre Dame. I am aspiring to become a Remote Area Nurse specialising in Aboriginal Mental Health.
Taylor-Jane Bellotti, 21
My name is Taylor-Jane Bellotti and I am a Yamatji woman with my family mainly in Carnarvon and Shark Bay. I am currently a first year student, studying a triple major in Psychology and Criminology at Murdoch University. I am also a qualified Vet Nurse.
My life sounds pretty sweet, but it has not always been this great. I attended Melville Senior High School and in my early years, got into a lot of trouble and my grades suffered. I thought that living my dream at the time was impossible, especially when I had my soon-to-be school principal tell me I would never be a Vet, which was my dream at the time. I believed her and started to skip class, got kicked out of class, and argued a lot with the teachers.
In Year 11, I got the break I needed and was offered an opportunity to go to TAFE once a week and school 3 days a week. I embraced this opportunity and completed a Cert II in Animal Studies.
When I left school I continued to study and complete my Cert III in Companion Animal Services and a Cert IV in Veterinary Nursing. During this time, I felt that I would help troubled kids and adolescents more, so I enrolled in my current degree in the hopes of one day being able to incorporate animals into therapy.
I never thought I would be able to achieve my dreams, but with family support – I was inspired by my grandfather – and a little determination, I was able to achieve all the things I want in my life…So far.
And you can do the same!
Antonnette Wamukoya (Toni), 23
My name is Antonnette Wamukoya. I was born and raised in Kenya. I am 23 years old and I only have a few weeks to finish my nursing school. I am very passionate about mental health and issues affecting youths, especially those from multicultural backgrounds. Advocating for mental health has healed and equipped me in so many ways. Listening to other people's story has made me learn so much more. My intent to join the YLR is so that I can gain sufficient skills, meet other like-minded youths as well as continue advocating for issues that I am very passionate about. Mental health is all about acceptance. Accepting that mental health is there and help can be sought is very essential. The stigma and discrimination needs to be dealt with. Just because you live with a mental illness doesn't mean that you are mad or unworthy. My aim so to eliminate the stigma surrounding us. We are normal human beings like any other. Mental illness does not make us any different.
I believe that youths are the change of today and no youth should be reluctant to voice out their opinions because of our life and those of our generation to come is dependent on what actions we do now. Let us be the change we want.
Chelsey Rose Boyd, 20
My name is Chelsey Boyd, I'm 20 years of age with a huge passion for social justice. I'm currently studying Beauty/Fitness at TAFE and by completing these courses I hope to achieve and further my studies by getting into university and study social work and politics.
My long term goal after completing these qualifications is to creat the foundations where I can achieve my goals of developing a rehab space/program for young people to be supported to work through their traumas.
I believe everyone has potential to be the best that they can be - they just need someone to beleive in them. I hope to be the voice of people that are scared to speak out. I hope to challenge the stigma on how people perceive young people that are homeless or are in care.
We are all the same inside - we're just dealing with different obstacles. I believe in embracing every challenge because this is what helps us grow as people, and as we grow, we learn new things and become knowledgeable. That's why I believe education is the best way to go, because by educating people, we can engage in conversations where we can be open and discuss sensitive topics. And by creating awareness it could change some perspective on how we view things.
This is why I am honoured to be on the Roundtable, as I'm able to use my voice to make change and make a big impact on how things are for young people like myself.
Danikka Calyon, 17
My name is Danikka Calyon and I'm a 17 year old Noongar girl. I'm currently completing Year 11 at Mercedes College in Perth. I'm completing my Cert II in Business at school and I am set on an ATAR pathway.
I'm currently involved with two programs in my local community of Armadale: Ignite Basketball which is run through the City of Armadale as a Youth Coach, and Save the Children's One Step Closer program as a Youth Mentor. And just recent, I'm now also a member of the YPP Youth Leadership Roundtable.
I'm immensely passionate about helping young people and helping them raise their voice on issues they feel are important. I know what it's like to have your voice silenced because I've let others keep my opinions from being heard but now I stand up for those who have been silenced and allow them to use their voices. I'm also an advocate for equality and I'm a feminist. I believe that everyone should be treated equally and with respect, no human beings life is worth more than another's.
The youth are the future so therefore we should be part of the process in making our world a better place.
Danikka was also the Save the Children Australia Youth Representative to the 2015 United Nations General Assembly in New York, USA. She also was a Finalist and received the Highly Commended Award at the 2015 WA Youth Awards in the CCYP Active Participate Award.
Jenna Woods, 24
Chair of the YPP Youth Leadership Roundtable (2014-2016)
My name is Jenna Woods and I am a 23 year old Noongar woman. I have a 6 year old son and have lived in the South East Metro region of Perth for most of my life.
I am the Chairwoman of the Youth Leadership Roundtable and am involved with a few other community programs. I am also in my last year of my degree at Murdoch University, majoring in Community Development and Political Science.
I have had to struggle to get to where I am in life and had a lot of obstacles to overcome. I know that life isn't very easy, and very often, it's not fair. I want to see things change. I want to live in a society where we all have equal access to opportunities and this is why I am part of this Summit.
We need to speak out and we need the decision makers to listen. We face these issues every day, we are the experts on them, and we hold within us the best chance at fixing them!
Preston Culbong, 23
My name is Preston Culbong, and I have been getting my culture back all my life. I am a Nyoongar/Yamitji man who has a passion for supporting others to be the best that they can be.
I believe that we do not have a strong culture, and it is us young people that will be creating this culture for the future. We are a young nation of diverse and remarkable people.
Young people are the future of this country, and now is the time for our voices to be heard.
Preston was also awarded the 2015 NAIDOC Male of the Year, as well as Winner of the 2015 WA Youth Awards in the Edith Cowan University Community Leadership Award. Preston went on to win the overall award at the 2015 WA Youth Awards, being the WA Young Person of the Year for 2015.
Mercy Tengbeh, 19
My name is Mercy and I am 19 years old. I was born in Nigeria, but I have lived in Perth, Australia since I was about 3 years old. I have not returned back to Africa since then. I don't know much about my background, which is a shame. I come from a big family of 8 kids and 3 grandkids.
I am a teen mother – I had my daughter when I was 17. She is almost 2 and I have to say that she is the best thing that has ever happened to me.
I am currently studying legal services at TAFE, and one day I dream of becoming a criminal lawyer. Then maybe after that, I want to study psychology.
YOUTH LEADERSHIP ROUNDTABLE HANDBOOK