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Young Innovation Finalists Named


Friday, 25th October 2013 at 11:35 am
Staff Reporter, Journalist
Finalists in the national ‘Unleashed Awards’, which recognises young people who are shaping positive change in innovative ways, including two indigenous teenagers, have been announced in Sydney.

Friday, 25th October 2013
at 11:35 am
Staff Reporter, Journalist


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Young Innovation Finalists Named
Friday, 25th October 2013 at 11:35 am

Finalists in the national ‘Unleashed Awards’, which recognises young people who are shaping positive change in innovative ways, including two indigenous teenagers, have been announced in Sydney.

Organised by the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA), the overall award winners will be announced on November 10 at Sydney Opera House at the closing of FYA’s Unleashed Summit, which will bring together about 400 young campaigners, volunteers and social entrepreneurs.

The finalists for the 2013 Unleashed Awards are:

Bright Spark Award (presented by Samsung, for the most innovative example of changemaking by a 13 to 18-year-old)

  • Mariah Kennedy, 17 (VIC). Mariah has gathered poems, stories and illustrations about social issues from some of the world’s most celebrated authors, illustrators and advocates, including Jackie French, Andy Griffiths, Michael Leunig and Bruce Whatley. Mariah has compiled these into a book called Reaching Out: Messages of Hope. All author royalties are donated to UNICEF Australia.

  • Vanessa Turnbull, 17 (NSW). Vanessa is a young Indigenous leader who, with seven other young people, started Change the Conversation, a youth-led campaign that uses a facts-based approach to combat the myths surrounding asylum seekers and refugees.

  • Will Austin, 17 (VIC). Together with 11 other Indigenous young people, Will is raising awareness about suicide through R U OK? Community Conversations, encouraging people to have meaningful conversations with friends and family and showing that a simple conversation can save someone’s life.

Game Changer Award (presented by UBS, for the most innovative example of changemaking by a 19 to 26-year-old)

  • Georgia Retallick, 22 (VIC). Georgia started the Y-House Foundation in 2010 to support young people living in aged care and enhance their quality of life. She believes that her foundation creates an alternative option of care that is completely new and unprecedented in Australia.

  • Jordan O’Reilly, 25 (NSW). Jordan created Fighting Chance to tackle the issues of unemployment and social isolation that face many young Australians living with disabilities. Fighting Chance was set up in memory of Jordan’s father, whose dedication and commitment to creating a better life for Jordan’s severely disabled late younger brother inspired everyone who met them.

  • Michael Furey, 25 (NSW). Michael is the Founder of Global Sunrise, a project that researches and funds renewable energy solutions through an international network, providing electricity to some of the world’s most deprived communities.

Amplifier Award (presented by NAB, for the best example of a young person using volunteering to create change)

  • Daisy Cox, 22 (QLD). At the age of eight, Daisy started volunteering at the local hospital where her father worked. She is now a personal care volunteer at her local hospice, taking care of patient needs and managing the hospice’s social media. She recently organised a family fun day at the hospice grounds, raising $6,000 and creating a space where people could share their stories.

  • Tom Anderson, 19 (TAS). Tom has been a committed volunteer since the age of 13. This year he volunteered as an English teacher at the Shri Diwaker Buddhist Institute in India. He is now volunteering with the University of Tasmania’s Oxfam Group (South), as well as managing community stalls and working on political and public engagement with the Oaktree Foundation’s Generate program.

  • Paniora Nukunuku, 19 (NSW). Paniora has been volunteering since the age of 13 and believes in dedicating your heart and soul to a cause that is bigger than you are. He has volunteered with the Salvation Army and OzHarvest, and has been a member of the Canterbury Youth Council for many years, collaborating with them on local events and workshops.

Youth-Led Initiative of the Year (recognising a youth-led initiative with a strong social purpose and a leadership team between the ages of 13 and 28)

  • Hello Sunday Morning (HSM). Hello Sunday Morning provides an online platform that helps individuals change their relationship with alcohol and supports them to positively influence the drinking culture around them.

  • SYN – Schools on Air. SYN's Schools on Air radio initiative is Australia's largest and most comprehensive schools radio program, broadcasting the stories and perspectives of diverse young people. Schools on Air broadcasts over 400 hours of original content and is vital to ensuring that the voices of Australian students are adequately represented in the media landscape.

  • Youth Food Movement. The Youth Food Movement (YFM) is a Not for Profit initiative that aims to build a generation of young Australians who support and demand a healthier, more sustainable and secure food future. The volunteer-led initiative equips young people with a deeper understanding of the food they consume and empowers them to create consumer-led change.

The Foundation says that through a series of talks, workshops and a “PitchUp” session, the two-day summit is set to “trigger a social change explosion and build a strong community of young, vibrant social changemakers”.

“We’re incredibly lucky to work every day with passionate, motivated and inspiring young Australians creating change and making a difference in their communities and the world,” FYA CEO Jan Owen said.

The winners of the Bright Spark, Game Changer and Amplifier awards will go onto the shortlist for the FYA Changemaker of the Year Award. The recipient of this award will be offered a three to six-month residency at FYA Melbourne.

Other awards to be presented at Unleashed include the Trailblazer Award, presented to an over 26-year-old who has paved the way for youth-led changemaking in Australia, and the Celebrity For Good Award, presented to a young celebrity who is using their status to promote social change.


Staff Reporter  |  Journalist |  @ProBonoNews


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