Zakia Patel YMCA Youth Space

Zakia has created a thriving Youth Space (opened 28 Feb), with more than 900 visits to date (only open on two days per week), from a diverse mix of young people. She has also established an effective Case Management Practice.

Zakia set out to develop a culture that supports safety, self-expression, inclusion, accountability, and opportunity. This approach facilitates youth work practice that is ethical, participatory and strengths-based.

Key elements and examples of this approach include:

  • “Values” and “Expectations” not rules has influenced the behaviour of participants. They do their own dishes, clean-up, and hold each other accountable.
  • Creating opportunities to engage with the Space according to their own preferences. To maximise engagement, Zakia created a space where participants can do lots of things, but are not required to do any one thing. This allows participants to shape their own experience and build relationships with youth workers at their own pace.
  • Creating opportunities for young people to shine. The “Official” opening of the Space (attended by a diverse range of stakeholders) allowed young people to demonstrate their strengths and feel valued in a different setting. Young people fulfilled important roles on the night, including meeting dignitaries, facilitating an art project, and being the MC. These roles challenged the young people, but Zakia made sure they were supported.

Cindylee Young Woden Community Service

Cindylee embodies and demonstrates the characteristic qualities of an Outstanding Youth Worker.

Cindylee demonstrates time and time again of her passion and commitment to young people through the many school groups she has facilitated whereby she teaches the importance of self-care and respect to countless young women, meanwhile building incredible rapport with both teachers, youth workers and department heads throughout the school. Each school group that Cindylee facilitates is guaranteed to have positive feedback from young people and teachers alike, making Cindylee a highly sought after group facilitator. When Cindylee is not rostered on Drop In it is now expected that a young person will come in to the Woden Youth Centre at some point and ask if Cindylee is available to speak with. Whether it is just to say hi, have a laugh with, or to have a more serious conversation.

Cindylee shows her Innovative qualities and passion for Mental Health with her development of now two successful Mental Health Week events and the creation and delivery of the GET (Girls Empowered Together) program. These events and programs create an environment that empower young people with the tools and strategies for coping with stress and anxiety, as well as providing and showing the young people the wide range of support services available to them. The GET Program in particular has received extremely positive feedback from the young women who attend the program, parents of the participants and local government MP’s.

Cindylee is a phenomenal Youth worker, team player and agent of change. She is a strong and respected voice on the Youth Engagement Team and community sector. YET are extremely proud of Cindylee and privileged to have her apart of the Team.

Trevor Preston

Trevor Preston is a youth support officer at Lyneham High School, and is a qualified youth worker and librarian. He is committed to the development of young people, and improving life outcomes through lifelong learning. His commitment to young people is evident through his history of supporting young people, first through working with young people who were experiencing homelessness or in detention, supporting them to access sustainable housing, and improving their educational and employment outcomes. He then moved to an educational setting ten years ago, working at Wanniassa High School for almost 9 years, before moving to Lyneham High School.

Trevor provides quality, strengths and evidence based, responsive practice to young people within the high school environment. Trevor manages the complexities of young people’s stories with compassion, insight, innovation in approach and agility to his service provision. Trevor is renowned in the school atmosphere for ensuring wrap around support to young people and their families, and seeking meaningful service outcomes and responsive service supports for all his clients.

Trevor places young people at the centre of his practice, annually reviews the welfare requirements of his school community, and allows young people to self-determine what will work best for them. He also supports them to identify fun, inclusive activities that will help connect young people with each other and support services. He is a diligent researcher and applier of action learning, which enhances his capacity to work with complex needs including mental health, AOD and trauma, and provides insightful, current and meaningful practice to all of his support work with young people.

Joshua White

Joshua White is a youth worker at Kingsford Smith School, and for Josh, the students at his school always come first. He approaches students with calmness, understanding and empathy. Regardless of the situation or what else he has to do, his students know that when he is speaking with them, they are his main priority.

Josh excels at building rapport with young people, identifying their individual needs, students and linking them with supports based around their strengths. If Josh can’t find the right support, then generally, he creates it. One of Josh’s greatest strengths is involving others in the support of his students. Whether it’s a new group or club, or linking them with a service that can think and move outside the box, he calls on contacts and connections from previous work and makes miracles happen for the young people he supports.

Josh is described by colleagues as someone who is “in a league of his own”. He is enthusiastic, passionate, energetic, humble, generous, positive, committed, courteous, eternally encouraging and humorous. He is a leader in positive initiatives not just in his school, but also in the local community, partnering with organisations to facilitate after school programs for students, and supporting events such Wear It Purple Day and White Ribbon Day.

He is recognised by school staff and community partners as someone who is willing to learn, and committed to professionalism. However, this would mean little if he did not have his students on his side. Josh embodies the skills every youth worker should possess, with his friendly personality and ability to develop trust with young people. It is impossible to walk with Josh through his school without young people waving and calling out, knowing they will receive a welcoming smile from someone who genuinely cares for them in return.