Changemaking board a voice for youth

January 14, 2022 BY

Proactive: The YAB gets involved in lots of community initiatives such as Clean-Up Australia Day. Photo: SUPPLIED

ACTING as advocates and a support for young people, Highlands LLEN’s inclusive and diverse Youth Advisory Board is seeking new members to be the next generation of changemakers in the Ballarat region.

The collective of aspiring leaders aged 15 to 26 was established just over three years ago, existing to make the community an even better place to live for young people.

Working with and advising organisations and levels of government, the YAB has a goal to address and solve issues facing young adults, teenagers, and children.

YAB member Taylah Redgewell said the Board is a “critical link” for youth to network, not only amongst themselves, but with professionals and groups that can help them make a difference into the future.

“It allows me to connect with a range of people, from all backgrounds and all parts of the Ballarat community, which is an important part of who I am,” she said.

“For anyone looking to discover this link [with their community], the YAB is an excellent initiative to do so. Participating in a range of activities, events and initiatives is an awesome and easy way to feel a part of our wider community.

“Over the two years I have been in YAB, it has allowed me to look at our youth community differently and get exposure to multiple groups of people which will help me all throughout my lifetime.”

Highlands LLEN’s YAB coordinator Chloe Waddell said despite the challenges of the pandemic over the last two years, the Board has continued to meet, whether in-person or remotely, stay engaged with the community, and produce “valuable work.”

“Just this year the YAB have created and donated community library boxes to three early learning centres, and have created a men’s mental health poster campaign that you might be seeing in local venues soon,” she said.

“They have completed a project supported by the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning to assist with their climate adaptation strategy, and highlight youth concerns and perspectives around climate change and climate adaptation.

“The YAB have engaged in advisory opportunities with various members of the community, to offer genuine youth input. One example was providing consultancy to a local organisation around youth perspectives of what information they need, or what misinformation they have received, around COVID vaccines, and how they have been impacted by the pandemic.”

Recent YAB fundraising efforts have included a Grill’d Local Matters jar, and musical bingo at Hop Temple, and they’re currently excitedly brainstorming for a proactive 2022 after their summer break.

The Board meets every three to four weeks, and advisors are reimbursed for time spent attending the meetings.

“The YAB celebrates everyone, including those with diverse backgrounds, different levels of abilities, and those with various lived experiences,” Ms Waddell said.

“The YAB is a space for everyone to feel as though they can belong, and contribute.”

Expressions of interest can be emailed to [email protected].