Pictured: Jeanette (R) with Teenage Girls Retreat participant Claire (L).
It's International Women's Day and today we're celebrating some of the amazing women at the Y and highlighting the important work that they do.
Jeanette’s passion is to empower and build resilience in young people. Fortunately for her, she found a job that combines her passion with her work. As the YMCA Southern Peninsula Youth Services Manager, Jeanette runs various programs and initiatives that focus on preventing and improving mental health in young people. One of those initiatives is the annual Teenage Girls Retreat – a five-day program that offers young women the chance to explore strategies and behaviours that help them navigate their teenage years, setting them up with the skills to transition confidently into adult life.
“Circumstances and background can influence young people at various stages in their lives, but this shouldn’t define them. Developing a strong sense of self both mentally and physically is essential to leading a happy and successful life. Over the course of my career, I’ve been fortunate to successfully secure community funding allowing me observe and explore local community needs and offer activities and initiatives that meet those needs. The plan is to continue this rewarding work into the future!”
Pictured: Liz and Janelle at the International Drowning Conference in Canada, 2017.
Liz Tesone and Janelle Falkingham
Liz and Janelle are our aquatic experts at the Y. As leaders in the drowning prevention space, they develop and execute swimming and water safety initiatives, and advocate for the reduction in drownings and aquatic related injuries within the communities we work in.
Along with their work in Victoria and across Australia, Liz also shares her expertise globally as the YMCA Asia Pacific Aquatic Specialist. Through this role Liz showcases the leading work being done at the Y in Australia and guides development of international programs.
The pair represent the Y on an array of industry committees including the steering committee of Play it Safe by the Water – a campaign run by the Victorian government that aims to increase safety around water and reduce the number of drowning incidents. In 2018, Janelle and Liz rolled out the Y’s Water Safety Hublet as a part of the Play it Safe by the Water campaign.
The interactive learning hub travels across the state to deliver water safety messages in a fun and engaging way.
“Spreading these messages is extremely important. Both of our families love spending time in, on and under the water, and knowing that our kids understand water safety is a priority for us both as parents,” said Janelle.
Pictured: Taylah smiling, dressed-up and ready to go to a formal event.
Taylah joined the Y three years ago as an intermediate level gymnastics coach at Endeavour Hills Leisure Centre (EHLC). One thing that drew her to the position was that the club had a big inclusion space, but no one was owning it. Seizing the opportunity, Taylah began coaching Miles who has Down Syndrome. They trained together once a week and with Taylah’s help, Miles went on to win the state championships and qualified for nationals.
“Training with Miles made me realise that with a little bit of encouragement anyone can enjoy gymnastics. The experience motivated me to put my energy towards organising our Wonderlous Open Day where people of all ages and abilities are invited to come to the centre and get involved in a day of gymnastics. Last year over 200 people turned up from all over the city. I’m excited to continue growing the event and making EHLC an inclusive hub where everyone has the opportunity to get active and have fun.”
The next Wonderlous Open Day will be held on Sunday 24 March. Click here to find out more.