Winner

2020

Annie-Lea Rowley

Outstanding Youth Worker

Annie-Lea is a youth worker with the YWCA team. Over her six years working in the youth sector, Annie has demonstrated a commitment to supporting young people to develop their social-emotional development, as well as education. With a passion for teaching, Annie is highly skilled at communicating with young people to assess gaps in the youth sector and creating entirely new programs to meet their needs and extend young people’s capacity.

Annie transformed the existing eight-week award-winning Y-Aspire Young Women’s Leadership Program, into the first out-of-hours Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Koori Y-Aspire Program, which involved intricate stakeholder, partner development, and engagement with local Aboriginal community. This program explores poignant topics such as identity, resilience, body image, respectful relationships, careers, and leadership in a safe and supportive environment. In addition, Annie also created the multi-award winning What’s Your Reality Program. This program involved young people consulting with a class of students from a disability specialist school and creating virtual reality experiences using 360-degree filming technology of nature-based activities. This program provided young people (who face barriers to access outdoors) the unique opportunity to experience the many health and wellbeing benefits of outside from activities that had been specially curated for them.

Annie also introduced the Schools Reconciliation Challenge to Richardson Primary School, which is an annual art and writing competition and is an empowering and engaging approach to connecting identifying and non-identifying students to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, in a meaningful way. Through consultation, research, and co-development with the school’s Indigenous Education Officer, Annie celebrated First Nation’s history and culture and supported students to find their own connection to Country and Culture.

Annie has a remarkable ability to connect with all young people. She has a dedication to creating meaningful relationships with young people, and has been praised for her ability to include, support, and enrich young people’s lives who have a disability. Annie makes all feel welcome and valued.

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