Pictured: Amanda Gailiss, YMCA Youth Governor and Youth Affairs Minister Jenny Mikakos
This week is National Youth week - a celebration of young people throughout Australia. At the Y we are celebrating the contributions our young staff and volunteers make to our organisation.
A young volunteer who has contributed a great deal to the Y and creates positive impact for young people wherever she seems to go is 24-year old Amanda Gailiss.
Amanda has been a high profile advocate for young people since becoming Victoria’s Youth Governor at last year’s YMCA Youth Parliament.
Most recently this role has seen Amanda take part in a new partnership with the State Government called ‘Youth Minister for the Day’. This involved her taking to the road on Wednesday to shadow Youth Affairs Minister Jenny Mikakos to the La Trobe Valley for a number of announcements, including a $4.3 million youth space in Morwell.
The Hon. Minister Mikakos said, “Our government’s youth engagement policy is all about giving young people a voice in government… What better way to do that than by giving a proven young leader first-hand insight into my role.”
Amanda’s leadership as a youth advocate has gone from strength to strength since she first became involved with the Y as a volunteer for our Youth Parliament program in 2009. This initiative gives young Victorian’s a genuine chance to be heard by the State Government. More than 30 bills first tabled in Youth Parliament have gone on to become state legislation.
Perhaps Amanda’s most notable impact has been on radio station 3AW where every week she represents the voice of young people and the YMCA.
In June 2016 Amanda was invited as a guest on Tom Elliot’s Drive show to discuss Youth Parliament and the political engagement of young people; so successful was the segment she was asked back to have a regular segment every week.
Amanda can be heard every Friday afternoon on the show bringing a progressive youth voice to the political issues of the day and having her own talk back segment. Issues Amanda has spoken passionately about include housing affordability, immigration, health, education and employment.
So what’s next on Amanda’s agenda? She has recently accepted an invitation to mentor YMCA Victoria Chair, Stephen Ellich. This role will allow Amanda to speak for young people and have influence around the strategic direction of the organisation in the interest of young people.
“The fact the Y allows young people to be involved at such a high level shows they see the value in young people, and are happy to relinquish power to young people and watch them succeed."