Y-Change: empowering young people to make change

We believe that young people who have experienced disadvantage hold valuable expertise and can teach us a lot about the systems and services that support them.

With philanthropic support, we have trained and built a team of seven young experts who are now employed by Berry Street. Their role is to share their expertise and knowledge, to advocate on behalf of young people, and to challenge the way that we understand ‘disadvantage’.

To give a snapshot of just some of what they’ve been up to:

  • The team has made presentations to our Board, Executive and Senior managers, residential care staff from across Victoria, and kinship and foster carers. 
  • They have met privately with the Secretary of the Department of Health & Human Services, high-level representatives from Victoria Police, and Commissioner for Children & Young People Liana Buchanan. 
  • They have facilitated workshops for RMIT Social Work Masters students, young people from alternative education, and ex-clients of Take Two
  • They have consulted on youth engagement opportunities across Berry Street and the development of a mentoring project for young people in care.
  • They have appeared on the radio, in print media and on TV.

All this since May 2016.

You can make a difference for young people

Through Y-Change we can give even more young people a platform for learning, leading and advocating. We have a lot to learn from their expertise. Your support can help us continue this exciting work.

Hear from the Young Changemakers

Y-Change team member Madelaine

Madelaine

“I just turned 18 literally one week before I joined Y-Change, and had just moved out on my own. I walked into full adulthood all in one go!”
Y-Change team member Tash

Tash

“For some reason challenges override my social anxieties. I don’t really have any social anxieties anymore since YChange.”
Y-Change team member Victor

Victor

“I’ve found I now have more pull behind my voice – people can see our expertise is warranted.”

What people say

"All the senior managers I have spoken with said your input was the perfect counterpoint for the (also very useful) “big picture” perspective presented just prior by the Department of Health and Human Services. Thank you for leading us so effectively."

—Ric Pawsey, Director, Take Two

"I found the discussion really helpful. It has helped our own understanding of what good workers should do and how they can better support young people in their role… We really appreciated meeting you and learning from you. We hope there will be other opportunities to engage with you, all in the interests of creating better systems of care."

—Michele Lonsdale, Director - Social Policy & Research, Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare