Young people to watch in 2019

  • Date: 20 December 2018
  • Category: News

As one year comes to a close, we’re looking forward to what the next has in store at the Y.

We are so fortunate to have many incredible young people working, volunteering and participating in our programs. Whatever role they play at the Y, they all contribute to helping their communities, and we think that's pretty special.

So, here’s a list of some inspiring young people at the Y to watch in 2019.

Abdalla Mohammed, 18 (pictured above)

Abdalla is a lifeguard at Coburg Leisure Centre. Arriving in Australia four years ago as a refugee, Abdalla recalls almost drowning in his war-torn home country of Somalia. “A lot of people drowned at that beach. Nobody knows how to swim properly. But you’re not worried about drowning when explosions are going off,” he said.

He is determined to encourage his community to learn the importance of water safety, and so far Abdalla has encouraged 15 more Somalians to enrol in swimming lessons. Four of which are now going on to become lifeguards just like Abdalla.

Corey Ramsey, manager at Coburg Leisure Centre, said Abdalla inspires other staff as well as members at the centre, and he can’t wait to see how he inspires more people from his community in 2019.

Abdalla also took home the Power of Inspired Young Person award at this year’s YMCA Victoria Staff & Volunteer Awards in November.

Emma Hosking, 21


Emma Hosking is the Programs Team Leader at the Boroondara Sports Complex, overseeing the Balwyn Gymnastics Club, which is home to 1,000 participants and over 40 staff and volunteers.

Emma is a powerful advocate for inclusion and in this year, she single-handedly launched BSC’s first Special Olympics gymnasts program, creating a pathway into competitive gymnastics for participants with an intellectual disability. In the four months that followed, she prepared her gymnasts for their first competition at the Victorian State Championships and was rewarded for her hard work with each gymnast medalling in their division!

In her time as team leader, Emma has also diversified the volunteer development coach pathway by encouraging young people with a disability to pursue a career in coaching. The club now supports one young woman with an intellectual disability and one young man with cerebral palsy who are flourishing as coaches and leaders in the gymnastics environment.

In addition to her work within the YMCA, Emma regularly volunteers to advocate for inclusion in the wider gymnastics community. In 2018, Emma has participated in Disability Sport & Recreation’s Hospital Visit Program, The Huddle’s ‘drop in’ sports initiative for migrant and refugee families in Melbourne’s North West and the Variety Children’s Christmas Party – to name just a few!

This year Emma has recognised as a finalist for the ‘Coach of the Year’ category at the Victorian Disability Sport and Recreation Awards, and at the 2018 YMCA Victoria Staff and Volunteer Awards Emma was crowned the 2018 YMCA Middle Manager of the Year!”

Chris Hunter, 24


Chris has volunteered with the Y for two years at each and every YMCA Connect Camp, often taking on a leadership role. In 2019, Chris will also be joining the Camping Adventures team, and will be joining the taskforce for UNO-Y.

Jessie Gaunt, Program Coordinator for Connect says, “It’s going to be an awesome year for Chris and it’s very exciting for the YMCA to have them across so many of our youth leadership and development programs.”

Chris is a qualified youth worker and brings a range of skills that provide participants with support, mentorship and positive guidance.

“The way Chris engages with young people on camp and also the way they lead their team of leaders, is very natural and empowering. Chris really invests into anything they puts their hand up to do and I’m looking forward to seeing what Chris has to bring to these three programs, while extending their already enormous impact over the next year,” says Jessie.

Katy Daivis, 25


Already an exceptional gymnastics coach, this year Katy stepped up into a recreation officer role at Macleod Recreation Centre where her customer service skills have excelled. Katy is loved by members at the centre, and always brings a positive attitude to work, which is contagious.

In 2018 she attended the YMCA Future Leaders Camp (a camp for staff and volunteers under 30 who are nominated by their manager for showing exceptional leadership and teamwork skills).

Since then, Katy has put her leadership skills to great use running and organising Macleod’s Gymnastics Junior Recreation Challenge which saw over 80 gymnasts compete in front of over 170 attendees.

In 2019, Katy will be heading over to Cambodia on the YMCA Unearth tour where they will be volunteering their time with YMCA Cambodia-led community projects and The Street Children’s Project.

Jason Evans, 26


Jason has been working at the Y for four years across a number of different sites. Currently, his role as membership coordinator involves managing customer service teams, membership acquisition and retention and member experience. Jason is a leader who aims to build a strong working culture among his team, while also providing the best experience to the community.

Jason has been a shining star within the Y. He has raised over $1,400 for YMCA Open Doors in two separate fundraisers, funds which go back into his community to help people experiencing some form of disadvantage. He was an award-nominee at an industry level for the Aquatics Recreation Victoria Awards, as well as winning the Health and Wellness Award YMCA Staff and Volunteer Awards.

Fiona Kriaris, a colleague of Jason’s, says “Despite all this achievements what sets Jason apart from others is his courage and compassion. He recently had a leading speaking role at the YMCA World Mental Health Day as he shared his experience about the importance of raising awareness for mental health.”

Jason is definitely someone to watch in 2019 as he continues to advocate the importance of mental health within the YMCA but also in the broader community, a true inspiration!

Lily Smith, 23


Lily is part of the YMCA Action Sports team as a Skate Coach, Program Leader for Skate Park Leagues, and Marketing and Communications Officer. You can find Lily splitting her time between Knox Skate Park, Camberwell Junction Skate Park and Ikon Park.

In 2019, Lily will begin the transition from program leader to program developer, assisting in the management of skate programs across the Y. With this insight she will be able to help develop the Action Sports program offerings and help engage with more participants across the country than ever before.

“It’s really cool to see participants progress. School lessons are my favourite. There are kids there who have never skated before, and didn’t want to in the first place, but after 30 minutes they are hooked and want to purchase a skateboard!