Youth Ambassador Program
Building leadership, teamwork and advocacy skills, as well as confidence and resilience, are key outcomes of the Youth Ambassador Program designed for youths primarily from a refugee background in years 10 and 11 of secondary school.
Australian Refugee Association
Youth Ambassador Program
Jan 2019 - Dec 2019
The Australian Refugee Association Inc. (ARA) is a non-government, not-for-profit charity organisation dedicated to helping refugees settle in Australia. Based in South Australia, they provide advice, assistance, advocacy and practical support to enable refugees to become independent and productive citizens.
Our Community Program sponsored the 7th Youth Ambassador Program in Adelaide, South Australia. Our support enabled the Australian Refugee Association (ARA to employ a specialised project officer to deliver the ten-month program in 2019. 32 students from 12 local secondary schools participated in the 2019 program.
The program has achieved great success in helping students, from across all cultural backgrounds, including students from refugee backgrounds, come together to develop skills in public speaking, communication, emotional intelligence, cultural awareness and advocacy. It incorporates volunteering, events and fundraising and promotes harmony and understanding of the refugee plight in the broader community.
During the year participants received mentoring support from the project officer, ARA staff and experienced former Youth ambassadors (peer leaders).
A highlight of the program was the leadership camp which brought young people together for workshops that explored cross-cultural interaction, leadership, team-building and creative arts.
“I enjoyed the constant awareness, empathy and myth-breaking of the refugee experience using facts and statistics and the fun activities that helped to practice mindfulness and concentration/focus. I really liked the collaborative and interactive games, especially the Actnow theatre and sports.
Student-led events were run during the year in six partnering schools focussing on Refugee Week, Harmony Week and ‘Are U OK?’ Day to help create awareness in the community around the refugee experience and the strength and value of diversity within our communities.
Local schools participating in the program are fully engaged in the program and worked with the program participants and ARA to create the Youth Ambassador South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) Stage 1 program. This means that in 2019, 18 students received SACE credit points through participation in the program.
The Youth Ambassador Program has provided young people from many backgrounds with the opportunity to thrive and actively give back to the community. With strong connections to services, and developing confidence, knowledge and experience this program has opened up opportunities many young people would not normally have access to.
We also supported the ARA’s Youth drop-in @ Salisbury project (Jul 2016-Jun 2018)