Gugan Gulwan Youth Aboriginal Corporation

Gugan Gulwan is an Aboriginal youth centre located in the ACT suburb of Wanniassa. It works with its clients through a range of programs that go well beyond the services provided by most youth centres. They include a Drug and Alcohol/Mental Health program, a Child, Youth, Family Support Program, and a Reconnect Program to support young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Gugan Gulwan gives support to parents and the family unit, focusing on skills development for young people.

In 2019, the Youth Coalition has worked with Gugan Gulwan through the services improvement project, as well as other programs. Their exemplar practice and process to support young people and families has shone through. The Gugan Gulwan team are highly committed and dedicated to their work, and we particularly acknowledge the leadership of Kim Davison who received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005 and is still in this important role 14 years later.

The Youth Coalition has chosen to acknowledge Gugan Gulwan with this award for their significant contribution to young people and their families in the ACT.

Susan Pellegrino

Susan Pellegrino has been involved in the youth sector over a number of years, and is a long term supporter and collaborator of the work of the Youth Coalition. As part of her role with the CREATE Foundation, Susan supports young people who wish to be advocates on Out of Home Care issues. She has worked closely with the Youth Coalition to connect us with young people who want to engage in our advocacy work, and she provides opportunities for young people to learn and develop their leadership and advocacy skills.

Susan is incredibly insightful and intelligent, and often brings a fresh perspective to a conversation, which has been developed through her authentic engagement with and support of young people. She has a unique depth of knowledge and understanding, and seeks genuine partnerships and opportunities to collaborate. Always at the forefront of her mind is seeking better processes and outcomes for children, young people and families.

Susan genuinely cares about children and young people, and this is evident in the way she interacts with both young people and adults. Whether she is cooking a BBQ while wearing a gorilla costume or speaking in a formal meeting, Susan wears her heart on her sleeve. It is this vulnerability that shows young people that she truly cares for them, and shows the rest of us her passion for improving their lives.

Young people tell us that Susan makes them feel like things really will be ok. When she says that she will be there for them, they know it is true. Susan gives young people hope, and with her seemingly boundless energy she relentlessly pursues positive change and better outcomes to ensure that hope becomes a reality. The Youth Coalition team feel incredibly privileged to work alongside Susan.