Richie Unga is a Youth Outreach Worker at St John’s YouthCare Canberra. He has worked in the community sector for 8 years, having previously worked with PCYC and doing residential youth work. In his current role, Richie is recognised as being able to work with young people in a flexible and responsive way, centred around their needs. Richie works hard to address current practical needs, as well as those related to their future planning and aspirations.
Richie is visibly passionate about the work he undertakes with young people. He uses the understandings and insight gained from the challenges which he overcame at a young age in his work with young people, balance with maintaining respectful boundaries with the young people he engages with. He is consistently motivated to engage with young people who are “falling through the gaps’, working alongside them to set goals and get their lives back on track. He is able to build rapport quickly and engage with young people in a supportive way. It is obvious that Richie is someone who genuinely cares about young people, and his interactions are authentic and are based on supporting young people to identify their strengths. He is also committed to working in a way that reinforces pro-social behavior, collaborative problem-solving and goal setting.
Richie is committed to working collaboratively with other workers within the sector. He has been instrumental in connecting young people to other services where this can be of benefit – and is committed to facilitating warm referrals. Richie works to extend his learning and develop his youth work practice, regularly attending youth sector meetings and workshops. His colleagues and young people note that he is flexible, resourceful, and creative in his work with young people and seeks to be curious about their lives in order to better understand their needs. His tireless efforts have resulted in many young people in his care speaking more positively about themselves, celebrating their own strengths, and demonstrating a ‘can-do’ attitude.