YMCA Victoria is lucky to have so many incredible young people working and volunteering to make a positive difference in the world. Here's a list of some young people at the Y to look out for in the new year - they're going places!
Peta Hooke, 27
Peta works in the Community Development Unit at the Y. She’s a proud ambassador for people with disability and women in leadership. Currently studying a Diploma in Access Consulting, she is focused on creating more inclusivity and accessibility in built environments.
“My main hope for 2018 is that the universe gives me that helping hand to have more opportunities to share my perspective as a women with a disability. I aim to illustrate that regardless of the hurdles women like me face, we do have passions, motivations and the ability to achieve real change. Life is short and I am not too shy to say, I don’t want to be just a number. Fate made me unique and I am going to be loud and proud to prove that I am worth listening to.”
James Abbott, 23
James is 2017’s Youth Governor of Victoria. He was a spokesperson and advocate for Youth Parliament this year and played a key role in introducing the first ever Deaf and Hard of Hearing team to the program. He looks forward to creating an even more inclusive and diverse program that represents Victoria in Youth Parliament for 2018.
James was also a speaker at the Swinburne University Youth Humanitarian event this year, where he spoke about the best ways to incite change - his first major speaking event.
James is a programmer at YMCA Camp Manyung, and looks forward to completing his Bachelor degree in Youth Work and Sport and Recreation in 2018.
Maggie Greenham, 23
Maggie works at the RMIT Student Union as the Student Life Officer and at the YMCA as a Swim Teacher In Charge at the Brunswick Baths. She’s passionate about water safety having grown up by the river and the beach.
Maggie has played a huge part in the Swim for Safety Cambodia program and says this is undoubtedly her biggest achievement for 2017. She says all the months of planning and preparation that went into the pilot program were made worth it when they finally got to see the impact for themselves.
“The pilot team were definitely on a high after the program was recognised at the YMCA Victoria Staff and Volunteer Awards - we couldn’t wait to see how it could continue to grow. To be able to foster that development of the program, the relationship with YMCA Cambodia and to be able to lead a new team of amazing aquatic specialists was a dream.”
Kergen Angel, 19
Kergen started out with the Y as a participant in UNO-Y, Youth Parliament and the Youth Press Gallery. He is now a Camping Officer within the Community Development Unit as well as the Communications Coordinator for Youth Parliament.
For the 32nd annual Youth Parliament program in 2018, Kergen aims to empower young people to understand their voices do have sway and can directly affect social, local and global issues. He is passionate about the media and is a subeditor of Melbourne University’s Farrago Magazine, as well as manager of the Melbourne University Media and Communications Student Society. And he’s only 19!
Kergen was recently interviewed by ABC’s 7.30 Report, where he spoke about respectful relationships and the impacts of pornography on young people. Watch out for the segment in 2018!
Michaela Mahoney, 24
Michaela is the Pool Operations Coordinator at Casey RACE, where she oversees around 80 lifeguards and duty managers.
This year she volunteered as a task force leader at Future Leaders, was nominated for a prestigious YMCA Vision Award award at the Staff and Volunteer Awards and completed her Mental Health First Aid training. She was heavily involved with implementing free water safety sessions to the Casey community, for women’s only groups, non-English speaking users, and local community groups. She was also involved in implementing women’s only swimming at Casey RACE.
Michaela is passionate about working in her community with young people, particularly to help them avoid being involved in the cycle of crime. In 2018 she hopes to continue to be involved in community outreach and volunteer on more YMCA camps to build her leadership skills.