As a former Warrnambool and Moyne Youth Achiever Award winner and through his current role as a teacher, Harry Coffey knows the importance of recognising the contributions of young people in the community.
Nominations for the 2022 Warrnambool and Moyne Youth Awards are now open.
Mr Coffey won the 19-25 Moyne category at the 2020 awards for his dedication to the Macarthur community pool, but he said that it wasn’t until he gained more experience as a teacher at Brauer College that he fully understood the positive influence awards like these can have.
“It was nice to be recognised for having a positive impact in my community, but at the time, I didn’t realise how big an impact that could have on people around me,” he said.
“Now I’m on the other side of the fence, you do realise just how much kids look up to their peers who achieve things or who are doing their best to make a difference.
“To have really good positive role models is really important anywhere in life, but especially to see your peers achieving things - I think kids get a lot out of that.”
Mr Coffey is one of a team of Youth Awards Ambassadors who will help coordinate the awards and select the winners this year.
“Making sure that kids are acknowledged for what they do is super important,” he said.
“I think positivity is so important, and reinforcing the kids when they’re doing something really well.
“Then their friends see that, other people who know them see that, and it flows on from there.”
Warrnambool Mayor Cr Vicki Jellie encouraged everyone to think about the young people they know and to spend a few minutes nominating them for an award.
“As adults, whether that’s teachers, coaches, parents or mentors, we all want to do what we can to foster the next generation,” she said.
“Nominating someone for a youth award is one of the most powerful things you can do to make a young person feel valued and boost their confidence.
“There are so many young people helping to make our region a better place. They don’t do it because anyone’s watching, but it’s really important for them to be acknowledged for what they’re contributing to their community.”
Mayor of the Moyne Shire, Cr Ian Smith said the awards are a chance to celebrate the achievements of young people and for them to be acknowledged for their important contributions.
“Our young people are an important part of our community – they are the leaders and innovators of tomorrow. It’s important that we shine a light on them and show our support,” Cr Smith said.
“We hope that these awards highlight the importance of encouraging and rewarding the hard work young people put in as role models in our community.”
“If you know an inspirational young person aged 12-25 years doing amazing things, please make sure to nominate them in this year’s youth awards.”
The Warrnambool and Moyne Youth Awards recognise young people who demonstrate the values of Respect, Kindness, Resilience, Responsibility, and Passion.
Nominations close on July 25 with an award ceremony to be held on September 4 at Deakin University.