Wow! We always knew we had some of the most amazing youth workers in the state, but this was confirmed at Friday night’s Youth Work WA Awards event when we picked up two of the four awards.
Celebrating at the Rosemount Hotel with fellow youth workers, Laura Dunlop, the Y WA Youth Services Manager, scooped the Anglicare WA Professional Youth Worker Award, whilst Heather Momo, who’s based in our YMCA Goldfields centre in Kalgoorlie, won the MercyCare Regional Youth Worker Award. Lee-Anne Ugle, our Newman-based Remote School Attendance Strategy Coordinator was also a finalist in the Regional Youth Worker category.
The judges explained Laura was voted this year’s Professional Youth Worker for her dedication and the key role she has played at the Y in implementing best practice youth work over the past five years and the positive impacts her processes have had on countless young people.
“I was so taken aback when my name was read out as the other finalists are awesome – it just makes this Award even more special. I consider myself so lucky and privileged to work with so many amazing young people, it makes my job so worthwhile,” Laura confirmed.
“Having a forward-thinking organisation like the Y supporting us and working collaboratively to create successful outcomes for young people is a privilege – plus I have an awesome team who are equally dedicated.”
Heather is equally passionate about being a youth worker, as she knows first hand what a positive impact they can have on a young person. Following an accident in her teens, Heather’s dream of becoming a concert pianist were dashed and she slipped into a depression. Fortunately she met a youth worker who literally helped her turn her life around and she has never forgotten how powerful a committed youth worker can be.
With surveys, consultation and open communication, Heather has worked to identify ways to deliver improved outcomes for young people in her Kalgoorlie-Boulder community. She has established a number of partnerships to support young people, including with NIAA, BEGA, PCYC, Youth Police, Centre Care, Population Health, Headspace, Shire of Coolgardie, Coolgardie Recreational Centre, the community Youth Team and local Aboriginal youth groups, including the BLAST Youth Group.
Heather confirmed “I am delighted to be recognised within my peer group, but the real heroes are the young people we work with. They are the reason we do the work we do!”
Mark Furr, the Y General Manager Youth Community & Leisure explained “I am so proud of my team. Laura, Heather and Lee-Anne are the most selfless, hardworking people I have had the privilege to work with. All of them are continually coming up with new program concepts and practises to help the young people in their very different communities – it’s so inspiring!”
New CEO, Dr Tim McDonald, confirmed “I’d like to thank Laura, Heather and Lee-Anne for their dedication and commitment to our mission to provide opportunities for young people to grow in body, mind, and spirit and our belief in the power of inspired young people – it’s because of people like them the Y is still relevant and thriving after 175 years!”.
Congratulations and thank you to our amazing youth workers.