A student leader who has worked on water programs in India, a lawyer involved in juvenile justice, and a team tackling mental health and substance abuse issues, were last night awarded for their services to young people.
Hosted by the City of Sydney, the Betty Makin Youth Awards recognise young individuals and groups who have excelled in educational, vocational and community projects over the past year, and individuals or organisations that work with young people.
The awards were presented at a ceremony at Redfern Town Hall last night. Individual award winners received a scholarship of $500 that can be used for educational, vocational and community projects.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the awards, which have been running since 1994, continue to inspire young people to be actively involved in their communities.
“We are proud to recognise and celebrate the valuable contribution of young people who are helping build stronger, healthier communities,” the Lord Mayor said.
“Each of the award winners has excelled in their individual fields to improve the lives of other young people.”
The Betty Makin Youth Awards were established nearly 25 years ago to honour a Redfern community leader who worked to improve the lives of young people.
“Betty Makin was a remarkable community leader who worked tirelessly to improve the lives of local residents and young people in particular,” the Lord Mayor said.
“Her legacy lives on as these awards continue to recognise and celebrate the achievements of young community leaders.”
Awards were presented in five individual categories and one group category.
Community-minded Award – Genevieve Sheenan
Genevieve recently returned from Bangalore, India where she led a team of Australian university students in setting up an English education after-school learning centre. Genevieve has also been involved in UNICEF’s water, sanitation and hygiene programs and is interested in furthering her experience with UNICEF.
Creative Award – Katie Vellins
Katie created a safe space for young people to explore their mental health or addiction journeys at Weave’s Mad Pride event during Mental Health Month in October 2017. Her exhibition allowed viewers to gain an understanding of what it is like to experience addiction and mental health issues. Katie is also a Weave youth advocate and is involved in projects led by young people. Katie has taken part in many events to help build stronger, more connected communities in Woolloomooloo and Waterloo.
Rookie of the Year Award – Habil Mawardi
A youth worker with Glebe Youth Service, Habil Mawardi has been recognised for his effective and enthusiastic support work for young people in Glebe. Habil has shown tremendous dedication, skills and ingenuity in engaging at risk teenage males in the Glebe area. Having grown up in Glebe, Habil has a great deal of understanding and empathy for the challenges faced by local young people. Among his achievements, he has established a fitness program as part of a pro-bono partnership with a local gym.
Hall of Fame Award – Jamie Alford
Jamie Alford is a social worker with a long history in the youth sector. He works for Legal Aid in the children’s civil law service, where he supports young people with complex needs. He has previously worked for Barnardo’s, supporting young people in the juvenile justice system, and Marist Youth Care in Western Sydney. Jamie is described as a reliable person who always goes above and beyond to achieve good outcomes for clients.
Resilient Award – Mariana Tana
Mariana has overcome hardships to continue her studies at SEDA College. She is determined to help others around her and create a positive outlook on life. The challenges that Marina has overcome in her short life and the way she manages her physical and emotional health are nothing short of amazing. Mariana was credited for her resilience and incredible determination and positivity.
Outstanding Partnership of the Year Award – Speak Out Dual Diagnosis Program
Weave Youth and Community Services partnered with NSW Drug Health Services to deliver the Speak Out Dual Diagnosis Program to support young people aged 12 to 28 who are experiencing coexisting mental health and substance use challenges. The program provides practical and therapeutic support. The partnership has helped remove the barriers that prevent young people from accessing support within the traditional health system. The program helps reduce any fear associated with hospital and clinical settings and allows young people to access appropriate care.
For more information about the awards see cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/community/community-services/young-people/betty-makin-youth-awards
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Caption: Representatives from Weave Youth and Community Services and NSW Drug Health Services; Katie Vellins; Genevieve Sheehan; Mariana Tana; Jamie Alford; and Habil Mawardi.
Image credit: Katherine Griffiths/City of Sydney