YMCA NSW is emerging as an employer of choice for young people, with yet another staff member honoured for her initiative and strong support of the community.
Youth Wellbeing Coordinator Laura Eason, 23, was awarded Highly Commended for NSW Youth Worker of the Year last Thursday.
The psychology graduate was recognised at the NSW Youth Work Awards for her outstanding contribution to youth work in the State. This includes establishing Streetgym – a YMCA NSW outreach program for at-risk young people aged 12 to 18. Laura also recently launched YMCA Uplift, a new youth mental wellbeing program for young people run in partnership with Bendigo Bank that provides free access to exercise sessions and new support networks.
“When you see the difference your work can make in young people’s lives, every bit of effort is worth it,” said Laura, after receiving her award at the Youth Action NSW-hosted event at Ovolo Hotel, Woolloomooloo.
“YMCA NSW has been willing to give me a lot of responsibility, freedom and trust to do my job and make things happen. I’ve been given so much professional development – they really invest and believe in me. I feel very lucky to work for an organisation that is willing to give young people like me a chance to lead and grow.”
Of YMCA NSW’s 1,850 strong workforce, 48 per cent are under the age of 25. This includes child care educators, gymnastics coaches, lifeguards, fitness and Learn to Swim instructors, customer service officers, youth workers, administration officers and business managers.
YMCA NSW CEO Susannah Le Bron said “we strongly believe in investing in our own people and we value great ideas, regardless of a staff member’s age and experience”.
“Laura’s achievement is a testament to her dedication and professionalism and a classic example of how we provide our young staff with opportunities for career challenges and progression,” Ms Le Bron said.
“We also support staff to gain industry qualifications including through our Gymnastics Coaching Mentorship Program. We offer work flexibility to students and enjoy seeing young people progress through the ranks, including into senior management.”
YMCA NSW’s services and programs focus on physical and mental wellbeing, resilience, advocacy and leadership to inspire young people to thrive in life and to make a difference within their local community.
This week, another young person supporting YMCA NSW’s work received recognition for his passion and advocacy. Hamani Tanginoa, 16, was recognised as a joint winner of the Voice Award at the NSW Children’s Week Awards.
Hamani is an ambassador for YMCA NSW’s Reconciliation Action Plan, a young leader in the Camden Youth Action Team run by YMCA NSW and a past participant in YMCA NSW Youth Parliament.
“Being nominated for this award means so much,” Hamani said. “It tells me I am doing the right thing, fighting for what’s right and just – telling me to continue that fight for a better future.”
In another celebration of YMCA NSW’s young team members, YMCA NSW Youth Empowerment and Inclusion Coordinator Angus Lonergan, 27, was earlier this year named Out Role Model at the Australian LGBTI Inclusion Awards.
Angus played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Affinity Network – a YMCA NSW employee support network about advocacy and education.
“A collective impact is always more rewarding than a single achievement and I know that at YMCA NSW that is always the goal," Angus said.
YMCA NSW Media Contacts:
Julie Nance, Communications Manager
M: 0428 511 040
Jessica Warren, Communications Officer
M: 0408 762 703
About YMCA NSW
YMCA NSW is a profit-for-purpose organisation focused on healthy living, social impact and empowering young people. We operate 22 recreation centres, 63 Out of School Hours Care services and two camping locations which fund our diverse range of community programs. We’ve been creating positive change and supporting communities for more than 165 years. Visit www.ymcansw.org.au