QUINNS Rocks teenager Florence Baitio (17) is a finalist for this year's WA Youth Awards.
Florence was one of four finalists for the participate category in the awards, announced earlier this month.
Her nomination said Florence’s start to life was different to many, having been born in Uganda and raised in a refugee camp, but it shaped her in a positive way.
‘Arriving in Australia in 2005, she quickly became involved in her local community,’ it said.
‘Florence now works casually as a youth support worker with the Association for Services to Torture and Trauma Survivors, where she co-ordinates holiday programs for young people with migrant and refugee backgrounds.
‘Passionate about her culture, she also volunteers to run cultural sessions for young people in her community.
‘She has big dreams and hopes to become a social worker with World Vision to help children less fortunate than her.’
Florence said she had worked in community development and ran traditional dancing workshops for young people.
The Greenwood College student said she wanted to work in community development or do social work in the long term.
Active Participation Award finalist, Sian Dooley (17), of Greenwood
A traumatic event during primary school left Sian with post-traumatic stress.
She battled anxiety, depression, body image issues and struggled to embrace her Aboriginal culture.
Through adversity, Sian developed a remarkable resilience.
She is now a youth consumer representative for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service; is youth and community presenter for Black Dog, where she promotes mental health to youth across WA, and is WA ambassador of the One Girl Foundation.
Her efforts now fund the education of a group of girls in Sierra Leone.
Sian was the youngest member selected for the 2013 YMCA Youth Parliament mental health committee.
She is proof that perseverance and determination can change lives.
Outstanding Youth Worker Award finalist, Matthew Bartlett (42), of Currambine
Matthew’s community contribution started in his teens when he became a volunteer youth worker at his local church in Mullaloo.
Since then, he has been a youth worker in Halls Creek, chaplain at Belridge Secondary College, Connolly Primary School and Ocean Reef Senior High School, and completed a degree in social work at ECU, where he topped the class and received the Chancellor’s Award.
Matt continues to work at Ocean Reef as chaplain and is a university lecturer in youth work.
He is an activist for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex youth, and their families, and works hard to combat issues surrounding suicide.
Community Leadership Award finalist, Brett Hatfield (22), of Kingsley
Brett could be described as a born leader.
As a Year 12 student at St Stephen’s School, he travelled to Malaysia to help educate underprivileged children and, as an undergraduate nursing student, he was one of four nurse trainees who volunteered in Tanzania.
Brett is now a registered nurseat Royal Perth Hospital and volunteers at the Starlight Express Room at Princess Margaret Hospital.
Brett’s greatest accomplishment is the development of a social media awareness campaign about the lack of support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex students.
The New Norm Facebook page has more than 1700 likes and the campaign website is a resource for school and community nurses.