Published on 28 March 2023

Young achievers celebrated

Four inspiring local young people and a much-loved youth worker were honoured last night at City of Onkaparinga's 2023 Youth Recognition Awards.

The awards—which recognise, celebrate and honour young people for their outstanding actions in improving themselves and their communities, and for securing their futures—were delivered by the Onkaparinga Youth Committee and presented at the Port Noarlunga Arts Centre as part of SA Youth Week.

More than 70 nominations were received for this year's awards across the five categories, and the recipients below were honoured following performances from All Saints Catholic Primary School and Carclew’s Expressway Arts, and a greeting to Country from Yellaka's Karl Winda Telfer, who spoke of the importance of recognising young people and their achievements.

Selected entries to the Youth Recognition Awards art competition—which saw a huge increase in submissions this year—were also on display, with three winners (Charlotte Balmforth, Charlotte Searle and Sage Barwick) receiving a SALA Mentorship with Onkaparinga Youth Arts Officer, Carly Snoswell, which includes an accompanying exhibition at the festival in August.

Now, meet this year's Youth Recognition Award recipients.

Learning Success - Molly-Eve Day

Molly has a Bachelor of Psychological Science and received outstanding grades, resulting in an offer for her to undertake an honours degree in psychology in 2023. Molly has a keen interest in neurology and psychology, which compliments her role as an Ability Support Volunteer with City of Onkaparinga's Disability Program. Molly supports adults living with an acquired brain injury with a variety of projects at Elizabeth House's Shed Program, as well as evening events and day programs. Molly is a strong compassionate advocate who effortlessly develops rapport, gains trust, and uses humour and empathy.

Business, Employment and Social Enterprise – Alexa Seidel

Budding entrepreneur and philanthropist Alexa, 11 has created a business 'Thats My Bin', which sells decorative and durable stickers to brighten people's rubbish bins. She has a great selection of colours and font types at very reasonable prices, and has received orders from across Australia, running the business with the help of her sisters, Mikayla and Indy. Alexa always donates a percentage of her sales to various charities, having already donated thousands since starting the business in June 2022.

Personal Achievement – Aella Kilgannon

Aella has been a full-time carer for her mother and sister for the past seven years. Aella doesn't have any transport and manages her own health concerns while juggling her caring role and seeking employment. Aella is also enrolled in a Certificate III in Community Services. Despite all these challenges, Aella volunteers at the Aldinga Community Centre twice a week and is a much-loved member of the team who is extremely capable in her administration role.

Contribution to Community – Mia Weston

An active member of Marion Swimming Club, Mia was chosen to represent South Australia for swimming at a meet in Brisbane in August 2022. She's raised money via cake sales for Hutt Street Centre at her Happy Valley school, and she's currently fundraising for the Starlight Foundation, with a goal to swim 200km with her friends and raise $1000 for sick children across the country.

Youth Worker of the Year – Matt Peters

Matt has been working at Aberfoyle Park's Seeds Uniting Church for six years in the Friday youth program, currently working there two days a week. Matt joined Aberfoyle Park High School in 2020 as its pastoral care worker, and he's a huge support for students, particularly for young boys at risk. Matt runs a breakfast club two mornings a week, and a games session at lunchtime. He has great relationships with students and is well-respected in the community.

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Learning Success Award recipient Molly Eve-Day smiles on stage alongside Onkaparinga Mayor Moira Were.