Outstanding Youth Leader
This award category is proudly presented by ZEST Event Leader – Western Sydney Community Forum.
- Must demonstrate extraordinary leadership within a new or existing community.
- Must show evidence of where they have taken an active role for the well-being and improvement of their community.
Aya Mustafa is a passionate advocate and public speaker, giving a voice to young people from refugee backgrounds. Having arrived from Iraq with her mother and siblings, Aya has emerged as a dynamic change maker in the past 12 months as part of Community Migrant Resource Centre’s (CMRC) Mentoring Accelerator Program. Aya’s ability to move an audience, and her drive to effect change through mentoring and online platforms, is driven from her own lived experience of transformational change. Aya’s work includes CMRC’s Mentoring Accelerator Program, responses to Syrian-Conflict Refugee Settlement Outcomes in Australia International Research Project with UTS/University of Sydney/Western Sydney University and CMRC and delivery of the Future Focused! Training program.
Matilda is a high distinction average student, studying a Deans Scholars Masters of Primary Education and Bachelor of Applied Leadership and Critical Thinking at Western Sydney University (WSU). Matilda is a proud Wiradjuri woman; actively involved in the community, she is a strong role-model and driven young leader, committed to creating positive change, advocating for those less fortunate and improving the lives of others. Matilda works with Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME), is a voluntary member of St Dominic’s AIME Tutor Squad, is part of WSU Reading Ambassador program, volunteers at Riding for Disabled, and is a Pathways to Dreaming Mentor for WSU.
Jessica has been an outstanding youth leader and role model to young girls in the Liverpool area for the past six years. She coordinates a Year 6 girls group called Shazzam, which is a transition to high school program that runs in partnership with Liverpool Police, Liverpool Neighbourhood Connections and Warwick Farm Primary School. The group participates in workshops around cyber safety, women’s health and domestic violence education. Jessica then transitions these girls to an after–school young girls’ group, Strive, offering a safe place for them to set goals and aspirations, discover their personalities and strengths, learn about the world around them, and ways in which they can meaningfully contribute.
As Vice-Captain of Homebush Boys High School, Ibrahim Taha is a role model to younger students, inspired by his ability to highlight the value of being a Muslim Australian. Ibrahim has volunteered at many non-government-organisations, including the Community Migrant Resource Centre, Settlement Services International and Western Sydney Community Centre. He was a part of the youth advisory group of the former Auburn City Council. Ibrahim has worked on initiatives such as White Ribbon Day, raising money for Zonta International Women’s Day and Human Appeal International. He has worked with Cumberland Youth Strategy Development team, as a youth advisor for the National Youth Commission, and is youth ambassador for Multicultural Youth Affairs Network.
Aryan Raj Sharma
A dynamic and astute young leader, Aryan turns his attention to anything he sees a need for in the community, extending his talents and service to charity, the elderly and to his peers. Aryan works to raise awareness, share knowledge and promote a spirit of collective enterprise and multiculturalism. Free from ideas of race, religion, age or gender, Aryan’s activities are carried out with respect for others. A martial arts State Champion, dancer, academic achiever, and award recipient, Aryan exhibits a level of leadership and commitment to his community that is beyond his years.
Emma Smith is a passionate young leader who has worked for two years in the Homework support mentoring program and in administration at Mount Druitt Ethnic Communities Agency – a not–for–profit, government-supported community organisation, assisting newly-settled refugees and migrants to transition into Australian society for three decades. The successful mentoring program has seen 90% of mentees from the 2016 group progress to University and TAFE studies. In 2018, 85% of mentees increased their attendance to 90%. Emma’s work as a mentor has empowered the mentees and helped to engender an understanding of the role of education in a bright future.
Walid Popal is a committed and hard-working Afghan gentleman. He works tirelessly and with enthusiasm, helping youth in the community, running information sessions, community events, sports activities and endeavours that help to keep young people busy and positive. Walid’s extensive time commitment is an indication of his love for the community; his passion for providing positive and healthy experiences for young people is an invaluable gift to the future.
Jayesh Joshi is a natural leader with a keen interest in government, community and volunteering; he has been a key member of the Liverpool Youth Council for three years and has served as the Chairperson on the Youth Council. During this time, he initiated two projects that not only benefited Liverpool Council, but also the community and the environment. Involved in multiple events and endeavours, Jayesh is a dedicated volunteer and advocate for young people, the community and the environment. Jayesh is an inspiring young person whose ideas will benefit greater Western Sydney and beyond.