Busy in Ballarat with YAG

CMY’s Regional Presence Project team covers the Ballarat region and close surrounds, and runs a variety of youth-led social and recreational activities, in-school student support sessions and training programs to empower and connect young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds. One of the key programs is the Youth Advisory Group.

The Ballarat Youth Advisory Group (YAG) is made up of passionate young people who wish to use their voice and collaborate on issues of racism, mental health, men’s violence against women and the war on Palestine. This year, the group’s objective is to gain experience and opportunities, meet other young people, practice public speaking, and talk about social topics they don’t get to talk about with family and friends.

Alby, Aditi, Thu, Matthew, Swetha, Charles, Luka, James and Poppy meet monthly to create a positive impact for multicultural young people in the Ballarat region.

In May 2024, youth volunteers from CMY, Headspace, QHub & The Y hosted the 2024 Australian Youth Representative to the United Nations – Gavin Choong – as part of his UN Listening Tour of the country.

Gavin has been travelling extensively, running consultations for young people aged 12-25, gathering their opinions and perspectives on Sustainable Development in Australia. His findings will go into a report that will be delivered to the UN General Assembly in New York later this year, and will also be shared with government, business and society leaders across the country.

It was great to see a mix of young people from different walks of life collaborating on ideas, and discussing issues that are important to them. Topics such as peace, justice, education, gender equality and poverty were focused on with a growing passion, with letters being written to the Prime Minister – letting him know what needs to be done to enact change and progress!

Gavin hosted an engaging consultation for a range of young people. With his facilitation, not only could more vocal participants share their ideas, but so could quieter individuals. I found the discussion of the raised issues to be thought provoking. Our young people’s experiences and ideas were diligently scribed as notes by Gavin. It was cool to think he’ll be compiling these records from all over the country into a report and speech to present at the UN. Glad to be a part of this avenue of expression and also listening to others’ insights.

Charles, Ballarat YAG Member

The Ballarat YAG look forward to reading Gavin’s finalised report and watching his General Assembly speech online.