What YAG 2017 got up to

March 2017 

National Youth Week

decorativeThe young leaders of the 2017 YAG started their year by sharing their vision for their generation during National Youth Week, through an online advocacy campaign.


April 2017 

Launch of the April 2017 'Giving Voice: Young People Experiencing and Responding to Homelessness' edition of Parity

decorativeOn Friday 7 April, Melbourne City Mission joined the Council to Homeless Persons (CHP) and Hope Street Youth and Family Services in launching the April 2017 “Giving Voice: Young People Experiencing and Responding to Homelessness” edition of Parity.

As part of the morning, four young people who Melbourne City Mission works alongside, including two young leaders from the 2017 YAG, were coached to share their stories to the wider audience. Each of these young people were also supported to write a piece on their own life experiences, which were published in the journal. You can read their written pieces here.

Policy Consultation with Oaktree

decorativeThe young leaders were invited by youth-led organisation, Oaktree, to feed into the Foreign Affairs White Paper as part of a consultative process through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). The White Paper is a document defining Australia’s economic, security and foreign policy interests over the next five to ten years – with youth voice being a crucial component in communicating a vision for the future of Australia’s influential role in the Asia Pacific region, tackling issues such as Foreign Aid, Climate Finance and Trade Policy. The White Paper is due to be finalised in June 2017.

Voice and Public Speaking Workshop

Over two weeks, the young leaders worked alongside community facilitator, Jacinta Percy, to work with building voice confidence for their advocacy and public speaking events.

Implementing the New Urban Agenda Conference: Making Cities Inclusive, Safe, Resilient and Sustainable

The New Urban Agenda pulls together many key themes for the future of life in cities and in particular emphasises the 'right to the city’, a ‘city for all’ and ‘no one left behind’. The Australian Government is a signatory to the agreement and this has clear implications for the future of a wide range of policies including those for affordable housing and homelessness. 

This conference was the first attempt in the Southern Hemisphere to explore the implications of the New Urban Agenda, which will guide policy globally for the next 20 years. 

Three young leaders of the 2017 YAG attended the conference, where they participated in a pre-conference workshop – sharing their views and experiences of homelessness and offering ideas as to what might be done to remedy the issue.

Two of the YAG youth advocates, Edward and Kirstin, were featured in an article in Pro Bono Australia titled ‘A City for All Needs Housing’. You can read it here.

May 2017 

Sleep at the 'G

decorativeAs part of Melbourne City Mission’s annual Sleep at the ‘G event, four young advocates from both the 2017 and alumni Youth Action Group’s played vital roles in raising awareness of the issue of youth homelessness. As part of a corporate panel on the night, Heath and Shaye shared their powerful experiences and insights, in addition to four of the young advocates, Aleisha, Edward, Heath and Kirstin filming educational videos that were circulated across social media and played on the big screens during the night. Edward was also invited to sing a song he composed, ‘New Beginnings’, on the main stage. 

decorativeWe are incredibly proud of these young people for authentically and courageously sharing with us in the hopes of having people better understand the complexities that sit behind the issue of youth homelessness.


Non – Violent Communication Training

Over two weeks, the young leaders participated in non-violent communication training with Nicola Paris of Counteract. The young leaders learnt about the importance of effective campaigning and how non-violent action supports communities in taking effective, creative, strategic action on issues of social justice.

June 2017

Progress 2017

Progress is the key biennial event that gathers, energises, and propels forward Australia’s leading campaigners, advocates and change-makers. As part of Progress 2017, ‘Progress Youth’ was developed to recognise the uniqueness of young people who are leaders in their communities and on big issues, and offer strategies and practical skills to help strengthen their campaigns and networks. One of the young leaders of the 2017 YAG, Elvis Martin, was selected via scholarship to attend three days of the Progress Youth stream.

Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation – pitch for Victorian Homelessness Conference 2017

Three of the YAG young leaders with a lived-experience of homelessness participated in a funding proposal for $5,000 through the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation. If granted, the Council to Homeless Persons (CHP) would use the funding to hold a pre-conference to the bi-annual Victorian Homelessness Conference in September. The pre-conference would invite young people and adults with lived-experience to share their ideas, opinions and experiences, which would then shape the themes of the state-wide event. 

Our young advocates met the challenge head on, giving relevant examples of how involvement in conferences has opened many doors for them professionally, has connected them with community, and has helped build their confidence. Having young people in the room to share their experiences hammered home the importance of youth participation and allowed the individuals from the Lord Mayors office to directly ask young people about their thoughts around the issue of youth homelessness.

July 2017

Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP) – Children and Youth Engagement Framework (CYEF)

The Commission for Children and Young People (CCYP) have been conducting some initial consultations with peak bodies and youth workers about how they should develop their Children and Youth Engagement Framework (CYEF). The CYEF will be developed to guide how the Commission engages with and supports child and youth participation in our work. 

The young leaders of the 2017 YAG met with a key project worker from the Commission to test some original ideas for the state – wide framework and to see if they were interested in being involved in the next steps for developing the Commission’s CYEF.

Pathway to a Republic – 2017 ARM Gala Dinner

Elvis, Maggy and Reanna, members of YAG had the chance to attend Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building. They received this opportunity through previous involvement with CHP events and conferences.

August 2017

Advocacy Presentation to Melbourne Water regarding issues young LGBTIQ and transgender community face

YAG members Jessica, Elvis and Kirstin delivered a presentation to over 100 staff from Melbourne Water, sharing their personal perspectives, opinions and life experiences regarding LGBTI+ rights.

Kirstin opened by talking about the importance of equality and accepting one and other for who they are. Elvis followed by sharing his personal experience of ‘coming out’ to his wealthy conservative family who live in Saudi Arabia, where homosexuality is punishable by death. Jess finished the presentation talking about the disproportionate amount of mental health issues within the LGBTI+ community, and encouraged Melbourne Water’s staff to be kind and respectful towards all people.

For Melbourne Water staff, this was clearly an extremely inspirational presentation that deeply motivated and moved the audience. Most importantly, YAG members had the opportunity to share their passions, and advocate for the changes in society that they want to see; respect, acceptance and inclusion for all people. 

One World Youth Summit in Colombia

YAG member, Elvis, was invited to attend the One World Youth Leadership Summit this October in Colombia. The One World Youth Summit is a 3-day conference that attracts high profile, passionate young leaders from around the world.  Unfortunately, due to the cost, Elvis is unable to attend. However, the invitation was seen as a great achievement, as only a few young leaders from Australia were invited.

September 2017

CHP Bi-Annual Homelessness Conference and Pre-Conference Workshop

Four YAG members attended the CHP two-day Homelessness Conference at City Hall. Two members also contributed to and provided input into the CHP-Pre Homelessness Conference, which invited people with a lived experience to share their experiences transitioning from not having a home to having stable, safe, secure and ongoing accommodation. This information was used in a presentation by PESP Team Leader, Cassandra Bawdin during the second day of the CHP Homelessness Conference.

City of Melbourne – Pathways Innovation Advisory Committee Applications

Three YAG members applied and interviewed to sit on the City of Melbourne’s Pathways Innovation Advisory Committee; a new homelessness-focused advisory which will be responsible for allocating $2 million to address homelessness in the City. The Fund will be delivered through a grants program supporting innovative projects that will make an enduring difference to homelessness in Melbourne. 

YAG Compassion Booth

decorativeYAG held an event to coincide with International Day of Peace Non-Violence. The event saw members of the YAG host a Compassion Booth which promoted equality and compassion in our society and facilitated conversations about the issues that affect young people. More information can be found by clicking here.