Tara McClelland – Oasis Youth Services

Tara began casual work in the ACT Youth Sector in November 2017, then took up a full time role after graduating in June 2018. Since then Tara has demonstrated her commitment to young people, and her own individual learning, professional development and self-improvement in many ways. While being a full time Youth Worker at Oasis Youth Services, working shift work including evenings, weekends and overnights, Tara also volunteers extensively within the sector – the Headspace Youth Reference Group, Canberra Youth Theatre (CYT) Young Artists Advisory Panel and Youth Worker Practice Network. Tara uses these groups and networks to expand her knowledge and skillset, giving back to the community and liaiseing with likeminded others. At Headspace, Tara successfully wrote a grant application for a Mental Health Month event and is currently planning it for October. She also MC’d the Headspace Canberra 10th Birthday Party earlier this year. Tara also represents Headspace at community awareness activities/events and advocates for youth mental health. At the CYT Young Artists Advisory Panel Tara has been influential in ensuring CYT reaches those young people who may not otherwise have the opportunity to participate in Theatre, as Tara knows Theatre can be greatly beneficial to a young person’s confidence, mental health and wellbeing. CYT has collaborated with local organisations to offer low or no cost referrals and partnerships and Tara has been involved in establishing these. Tara has also completed work based training as well as individual training this year in a number of areas including, Trans and Gender Diverse housing, borderline personality disorder, youth mental health and trauma informed car which has benefitted her individual learning, professional development and self-improvement. Tara’s energy and enthusiasm for young people and the youth sector can be seen in the range of external commitments, as well as her daily work with youth homelessness. Tara is excited to see where the sector takes her in the future, as young people is her true passion.

Geoffrey Sima YMCA Canberra Youth Space

Geoff is new to the youth sector and in particular working in a drop-in centre environment. Geoff has been a youth worker with YMCA Canberra since February 2019. Since then, Geoff has taken to time to develop his skills, through mentoring with his coordinator, and by asking questions, doing research and taking the time to talk to young people.

Geoff has shown his commitment to his role as a youth worker by putting his hand up to participate in various activities, taking the opportunity to attend training and information sessions, occasionally in his own time to ensure that he is continuously upskilling himself.
Over the last 4 months Geoff has demonstrated confidence in dealing with difficult situations and taking the time to engage with all young people who come to the Youth Space, not just those he has built a rapport with.

In particular, Geoff has recently taken on the role of mentoring a young person who has been having some difficulties. Through this mentoring, the young person has shown a lot more confidence and has started to develop some really positive friendships.

Geoff always brings a lot energy to the Youth Space and while working with the young people, and has helped create an atmosphere of warmth and inclusion for the young people.

James Small

James Small is a Youth Support Worker at Belconnen Community Service. Despite being new to the sector, James is a man in demand; with his unique combination of skills and amiable personality, young people and workers alike are eager to engage with him.

As a street artist, musician, sports fiend and all around great guy, James uses his skills and interests to enthuse and encourage young people to develop their own skills. He has a strong commitment to strengths-based practice which is evident in the way he wholeheartedly empowers young people to discover and develop their abilities.

James has grown immensely as a youth work practitioner, receiving positive feedback from schools, colleagues, and young people for the work he does wherever he goes. He has a natural drive to do the best work that he can do, so is always asking questions and reflecting on ways we can improve our services to all young people.

James is teachable, willing, and particularly interested in supporting and advocating for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, playing a role in facilitating multiple Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth groups and projects. James is constantly striving for best practice, evolving and expanding his knowledge to work successfully with any and all young people, openly identifying his own knowledge gaps and going out of his way to make sure he fills them. James is driven, passionate and an asset to the youth and community sector.

Jessica Cristallo

Jessica Cristallo is a youth worker and support worker at Canberra PCYC. She was training to be a teacher, then entered the youth sector after realising that social and emotional wellbeing for young people is paramount to their long term success. She has trained as a youth worker, and uses this combination of skills and experience to genuinely connect with young people as well as provide tutoring and link them with formal education.

Jess is a smiling, quiet achiever, new to the youth sector in 2017, who brings a calming spirit and caring nature to her support for young people. She is extremely competent and prepares herself well for every contact she will have with young people, ensuring they will get the best outcomes from her interactions. She is dedicated to her work, which is noticed by her managers and team members, and most importantly, the young people she supports.

Jess has continued to study and is always eager to learn, attending every training available to her. Jess also brings new discoveries of best practice in youth work and social work as well as relevant resources to share with other team members at team meetings, as she is dedicated to seeing herself and Canberra PCYC provide the best support possible.