Betty Makin Youth Awards

Betty Makin Youth Awards

2014 winners

A major part of Youth Week is recognising the positive contributions made by young people and the community that supports them, which we celebrate with the Betty Makin Youth Awards in 3 categories:

  • individual/group award
  • youth worker award
  • police award.

The 2014 winners were announced at an awards night on Tuesday 8 April at Redfern Town Hall, where scholarships were announced, trophies presented and young performers entertained the audience.

You can read more about the award winners below. The profile information is based on the nominations we received. 

Main image: Now You Will Get to Dance participants from Weave Family and Community Services.

Individual and group awards

Individual and group winners received a $500 scholarship. The awards recognise contributions to the local community, environmental sustainability initiatives and, creativity, arts and culture.

Youth worker award

This award recognises demonstrated commitment to developing projects or services for young people, developing a particular program or service and an active long-term commitment to 1 or more services for young people in the local area.

Police award

This award is limited to commissioned police officers within the City of Sydney’s 7 local area commands: City Central, The Rocks, Surry Hills, Kings Cross, Redfern, Newtown and Glebe.

Individual awards

The 2014 individual awards nominees were: Kelera Rabuatoka, Glebe PCYC; Jennifer Vo, Alexandria Park Community School; Noleen Hoskins, Weave Youth and Community Services; Grace Nuiqila, City of Sydney Area West Youth Services; Charlotte Louise May, St Vincent's College; and Melissa McKeon, Domremy College.

1st winner: Noleen Hoskins

Noleen HoskinsNoleen started as a client at the Speak Out dual diagnosis program and later participated in the Bush Circle therapy project at Weave Youth and Community Services.  After graduating from the Bush Circle she wanted more young people to experience the support she found through sharing with peers and she also wanted the group, who learnt so much from one another, to stay connected.  It resulted in Noleen initiating a peer leadership network for young people experiencing similar mental health, and drug and alcohol issues. Due to her passion and willingness, she was employed as a youth advocate to support Speak Out and the Bush Circle projects at Weave. Noleen was also employed as the women’s advocate for the Aboriginal women’s yarning circle due to her natural engagement skills.

When Noleen volunteered to work at a local drop-in centre and applied to a leadership school through VOICE (Volunteers in Community Engagement) Austalia, she was instead offered a job to provide cultural supervision to VOICE volunteers working with Indigenous communities. It has complemented her work at Weave where she has continued to grow as youth and women’s advocate.

In March, Noleen shared her experiences as a youth and women’s advocate at the NSW Aboriginal Mental Health and Wellbeing Forum, presenting ‘Traditional Circles in Practice’. In May at the NADA conference, she will be presenting ‘Creating Meaningful Moments with Young People’ with WEAVE. Later this year she will share her story about “inspiring a new generation” at the World Parks Congress, which meets every 10 years around the world, in Sydney in November. The congress attracts delegates and world leaders from 150 nations where she hopes to not only connect with other international community organisations and visiting Indigenous communities, but impact world leaders and policy makers.

Noleen has shared her story and inspirations in a documentary at UNSW, and an interview for the South Sydney Herald. Noleen says, “meeting new people, communicating, lack of confidence, motivation and change were some of the main issues I faced that were also associated with my drug and alcohol issues”. Now, from just being herself, and sharing who she is with others her age, she has found happiness, connection and purpose.

Her scholarship money will go towards paying her registration fees for the conferences, which will help build Noleen’s public speaking skills and broaden her knowledge of services in the community. The money will also go towards a course that will increase Noleen’s group facilitating skills.

2nd winner: Charlotte Louise May

Charlotte Louise MayA teacher from Charlotte’s school nominated her due to her commitment to her community when her best friend was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, inspiring Charlotte to raise $9,000 for CanTeen, which supports young people living with cancer who need specialised care and support.  A part of Charlotte’s project was publicly shaving her long hair, which she donated to be made into a wig for cancer patients dealing with the after effects of chemotherapy.

From 10 years of age, Charlotte has been involved with Surf Lifesaving Australia when she became a Nipper. At 13, she earned her surf rescue certificate and since then she has regularly volunteered for surf rescue patrols at Bronte Beach.

Charlotte is a guide and mentor for younger students at her school and she is also been a volunteer for students with learning difficulties for the past 4 years.  She is also part of the National Youth Science forum and was selected to attend an intensive science program at the Australian National University in January 2014. Charlotte also regularly volunteers for the school’s Night Patrol, which feeds homeless people in Redfern and Martin Place.   

The scholarship money will go towards helping fund her travel and accommodation in Tanzania for an immersion program that helps young people living in the slums of Arusha City.

3rd winner: Kelera Rabuatoka

Kelera RabuatokaKelera Rabuatoka has contributed to the Glebe youth community and staff at Glebe PCYC through basketball.  Kelera was previously involved in an Indigenous talented athlete program. In primary school she became passionate about basketball and the PCYC staff placed her into the Glebe basketball association at PCYC. 

In no time at all, Kelera became a representative player and an invaluable member of the team.  Her main achievement was the development of the basketball program at PCYC.  Kelera motivates the younger girls and inspires them to reach their full potential – when they fail to attend she will go to their house and pick them up and catch the bus with them, for example.

Kelera was also involved in promoting the program in the Inner West Courier and where she spoke about how basketball turned her life around.  Without her help this program would not exist.  Kelera was the motivation to keep the program going and was the inspiration for the club to win a successful community grant proving that passion and dedication can pay off. Kelera is now a part-time PCYC employee but is still attending school.

The scholarship money will go towards helping with the continued resourcing of the basketball program.

Group award

The 2014 group award nominees were: Youth Block Health Service, youth consulting group; Centre for Volunteering, youth volunteering team; and City of Sydney, international student leadership and ambassador team.

Winner: Centre for Volunteering

Betty Makin 2014 group award recipients.

Centre for Volunteering general manager Tony Frew accepted this award on behalf of the youth volunteering team, Kirralee Phillips, Lauren McQueen and Nicolas Novi (pictured above).

The Centre for Volunteering promotes and supports young people being volunteers in the City of Sydney and across NSW – no small feat! The centre manages various youth and student volunteering projects without dedicated funding.

Daily enquiries and requests at the centre include young people looking for volunteering opportunities or vocational placements in the not-for-profit sector, organisations seeking advice and resources about how to engage young volunteers and numerous other requests for support from various stakeholders.  

The centre could not address all of the enquiries without the support of its youth volunteering team.

Based at the centre’s offices in The Rocks, the team helps connect young people with volunteering opportunities, maps out volunteering opportunities for young people, coordinates events, develops print collateral, content for the website and Facebook page, and it undertakes research, evaluations and general administration.

Kirralee and Lauren, 2 members of the team, started as interns at the centre in September 2012. Despite meeting their internship requirements and graduating from Macquarie University in November 2012, they both stayed on at the centre in the youth volunteering team. They, along with Nick who joined the team in March 2013, have shown an unwavering commitment to the cause of promoting and supporting youth volunteering and community participation.

They have provided useful volunteering information and talked about their own volunteering experiences – which extend beyond the centre itself – as part of the Introduction to Volunteering program in schools and universities. They have interviewed young people looking for volunteer work under the centre’s volunteer referral service (VRS).

In fact, Kirralee and Lauren helped set up what is now called the Youth VRS at the centre. In addition, Nick’s creative flair and photographic skills has helped the centre produce engaging and youth friendly print materials including posters and postcards to promote volunteering.

The scholarship money will be used to send one of the volunteers to the 2014 International Association for Volunteer Effort youth conference in Queensland. The conference is designed to challenge, inform, energise and promote young people involved in the volunteer cause. It has a particular focus on social entrepreneurship, digital tools for change and volunteering as a pathway to employment.

The youth conference will provide a platform for the youth of the world to exchange ideas, work together in a collaborative way, and ultimately redefine 21st century volunteering.

Youth worker award

The 2014 youth worker nominees were: Kristie Clifton, Oasis Youth Support Network; Amy O'Neill, Glebe Youth Centre; Amy Lynn Adams, Glebe PCYC; and Janelle Ghazi, Weave Family and Community Services.

Winner: Kristie Clifton

Kristie CliftonKristie displays a voracious passion to make a real difference for Sydney’s homeless youth. In her 10 years working at the Salvation Army’s Oasis Youth Support Network in Surry Hills, she initiated several key programs for homeless young people in response to local community needs and has also sought to improve interagency collaboration.

Kristie first began working in 2004 as a youth worker in Oasis crisis accommodation where she worked one-on-one with 16 to 21 years olds experiencing homelessness. She then moved into the transitional accommodation program, working as a case manager with 16 to 25 year olds as they worked towards independent living.

During her time with crisis and transitional accommodation, Kristie identified that the majority had experienced significantly unstable homes growing up, often being exposed to drug and alcohol abuse, and violence within the home. Recognising that the issue was a key to the cycle of homelessness and with young people increasingly having their own children, Kristie set up the Oasis young parents program. Under Kristie’s guidance, the young parents program is therapeutically based, focusing on child development and education for families on nutrition, child development, behaviour, stress management, social outings and therapeutic activities such as swimming lessons to develop strong parent/child bonds to aid in the development of the child’s brain and reduce experiences of trauma.

Kristie’s passion to help vulnerable young parents not only rebuild their lives but establish their families futures has helped achieve incredible results from this program.  Keen to take on a new challenge, Kristie was soon appointed manager, street outreach services. Looking after a team of case managers and the chaplaincy program, Kristie works each day with high-needs young people experiencing significant homelessness. From providing support with obtaining documentation, food, clothing, accessing medical and legal services to support with detox and rehab programs, finding stable accommodation solutions or connecting with education and/or work, Kristie works holistically with the broader network to ensure these young people’s immediate needs are being met.

Within this role, Kristie has redeveloped the Street Connect Bus Program, changing its service delivery to meet the needs of the highest risk group of clients in Sydney, breaking down barriers by taking service providers to their local area, building trusting relationships and re-engaging with education, health and other services. Now as an after school program for 12-18 year olds, the program focuses on early intervention, reducing the stigma of accessing such services as Oasis and working with Aboriginal communities in the area. Within the first three months, this program was meeting the 12-month targets.

In addition to the above, Kristie identified the need to strengthen relationships with agencies across the inner city and so commenced interagency speed dating events where staff from a wide range of services could learn more about each other and how they could work together. Kristie also sits on the Executive Board of City of Sydney Youth Interagency and is a member of Inner City Youth at Risk.

Police award

The 2014 police award nominees were: Craig Parkinson, Surry Hills local area command and Renee Simpson, South Sydney PCYC.

Winner: Craig Parkinson

Craig ParkinsonCraig works alongside the crisis case management teams, therapeutic teams and the crisis accommodation service at Oasis Youth support Network. Craig is a valuable member of the NSW police force helping break down the barriers between police and youth. He is well trained and his awareness of mental health issues helps him have a better understanding of our youth.

Craig’s positive dealings with the vulnerable and disadvantaged youth at Oasis are rewarded by how they value his interaction. This is the closest ever that we have seen any police force member come to a positive relationship with our youth.

Craig attends educational days, Monday lunches and ‘pop ins’ to interact with youth and spend time with them. He has worked very hard at listening to young people, letting them have a voice and exploring their concerns, allowing them to feel safe and heard. Working with complex traumatised youth, Craig has strived to make sure that all the young people are valued and treated equally as active members of the community.

Craig is a presenter in our Drivin’ 4 Employment safety program working alongside the City of Sydney Road Safety Officer. These presentations are very informative and Craig’s interaction and approach with young people is very relaxed and interactive. Craig is a great advocate for the police force.

From one of our volunteers: "Craig put a human face on police".

YouthWeek 2014 

Last updated: Friday, 11 April 2014