2023 Winners

We’re excited to unveil the winners in the 2023 WA Youth Awards.

The winners were announced at the WA Youth Awards gala dinner on Friday 27 October at the WA Museum.

To access photos for the WA Youth Awards please click here

Isabella Choate

WA Young Person of the Year 2023 and The ECU Community Leadership Award

Isabella is a lived experience advocate working across youth, disability, mental ill-health, and LGBTIQA+ areas. They are passionate about celebrating intersectional community and creating opportunities for young people to have a voice. To support this, they created a lived experience newsletter to support young people into lived experience roles. Isabella sits on several councils, including; CYDA Youth Council, the Victorian Department of Health Lived Experience Steering Group, is supporting CoMHWA to establish a lived experience leadership course, and is co-chair of the NMHS Mental Health Advisory Council. In their day job, they work at YDAN and in their spare time, they host accessible events for members of the disability community to come together and be unapologetically disabled.

Dillian Cumming

The Commissioner for Children and Young People Participate Award

Shortly after coming to terms with their own self and identity, Dillian became an active ally and advocate for LGBTIQA+, First Nations and transgender young people.
The proud Whadjuk Ballardong person has been involved with various advocacy groups for several years. They have shown a passion and tenacity to unapologetically love and accept yourself and others. Dillian has been the youngest serving member on multiple advisory and working groups such as Pride Yarns with Mob, which has helped with research on the Walkern Katatdjin project. The national research project aims to understand and promote the mental health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTIQA+ young people.

Jack Connor Anderson

The Mission Australia Young Changemaker Award

Jack has a passion to transform the education landscape. He co-founded a not-for-profit textbook authoring organisation ThrivED, which uses the proceeds from every two sales to produce a textbook for a student in a low-socioeconomic area. Jack is chair of the ThrivED board. He is also a filmmaker and co-produced a documentary Realising Dreams. The film raised more than $9000 for Cancer Council WA and Ignite Mentoring, which runs mentoring programs to develop the self-confidence of high school students. Jack has also been a competitor in the Ninja Challenge League Finals and helped raised money for charity with a 24-hour pull-up challenge.

Youth Pride Network

The Y WA Collective Action Award

The Youth Pride Network (YPN) is a peer-led LGBTIQA+ youth systemic advocacy organisation working to improve the lives of all young LGBTIQA+ people across Western Australia. Established in 2017, the YPN formed in response to the marriage equality plebiscite in order to give a voice to queer young people, and currently operates with a committee of 15 young people between the ages of 12 - 25 and three extraordinarily dedicated staff members. The YPN operates across three key pillars – advocacy, education, and community. They work towards a future where LGBTIQA+ young people don’t have to face systemic discrimination and aim to ensure the future generation of leaders are empowered in their advocacy.

Home Stretch WA CoP

The Youth Focus Sector Collaboration Award

Home Stretch WA is a program that supports young people leaving Out of Home Care in Western Australia, with the option to continue to receive support up until the age of 21. The program is being implemented by the Department of Communities in partnership with Anglicare WA and Yorganop, facilitating the Community of Practice (CoP) function.

Young people have been at the heart of the design, development and delivery of the Home Stretch WA COP since its inception. The Home Stretch WA Youth Advisory Group helped design the functions of the CoP and created the job description and roles for lived experience consultants who are employed within the CoP. There have been five young people employed as lived experience consultants, including two young Aboriginal people and one young person living with a disability.

The Community of Practice is formed by the collective efforts of Yorganop, AnglicareWA, Bloodwood Tree, MG Corporation, Broome Youth and Families Hub, Marra Warra Warra Corporation, Jungarni-Jutiya, Robe River Karuma, Salvation Army, Mission Australia, South West Aboriginal Medical Service, Wanslea, Streeties, Albany Youth Support Association

Samuel Thomas

The Youth Futures Innovation for a Sustainable Future Award

Samuel Thomas created Sam's Spares, a not-for-profit organisation reducing IT, computer and e-waste by bridging the gap between the IT end-user and the E-waste recycler. The organisation refurbishes and repairs discarded computer electronics to give to those in need. Sam's Spares also provides one-on-one repair training for neurodivergent people, which helps develop technical abilities, as well as communication and teamwork skills. In its first 12 months, Sam’s Spares received 45.9 tonnes of E-Waste, properly recycled 28.7 tonnes and diverted 919 refurbished pieces of free technology back into the community. Sam's Spares continues to expand with a new 700 sqm facility and is aiming to increase its processing capacity by 16 times.

Xanthe Turner

The Perth Festival Creative Contribution Award

Xanthe Turner has squeezed a lot into life so far: author, illustrator, publisher, volunteer, university student, actor, musician, animator, zoo attendant, headspace volunteer, the list goes on. What drives her is a passion to support her community. Mandurian Stories is one of her latest projects and she recently launched her second community anthology, sales of which are donated towards community arts projects. Xanthe has been a member of youth parliament and won awards for her art. She also volunteers as an arts class facilitator and has been running creative, arts-based workshops in and around Mandurah since her early teens. She is studying a double degree in Fine Arts and Professional Writing and Publishing.

Ben Dancey

Minister for Youth’s Most Outstanding Youth Worker Award

Ben Dancey has spent more than 15 years working with youth in remote Aboriginal Communities as well as street-present young people. In the past five years, Ben has been pioneering the Home Stretch WA Program, which was co-designed by young people and is being rolled out as a permanent part of the child protection system. The program supports young people, aged 18 to 21, as they leave out-of-home care and transition into adulthood. Ben was one of the first youth transition coaches and has helped roll out the program throughout the state. Home Stretch participants receive holistic and practical support such as budgeting, access to housing as well as life coaching to achieve employment, connect with their identity, culture and community.

Abigail Gregorio

Mercycare Positive Achievement Award

Abigail is the founder of WA Consent an advocacy organisation campaigning to amend WA's intoxication and consent laws. Abigail has appeared before a Senate committee which is examining current and proposed sexual consent laws and she made a submission to the WA Law Reform Commission about consent in WA. Abigail volunteers at the Centre for Women’s Safety and Wellbeing’s Lived Experience Advisory Group and the Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Foundation. She is studying a double major in Law & Society and Criminology and is this year’s Ciara Glennon Memorial Law Scholarship at The University of Western Australia. She is also a voluntary paralegal at the university's Student Legal Advice Centre.

Cameron Carr, ABC Radio

Charmaine Dragun Memorial Award

Cameron is a journalist currently based with ABC Radio Perth as a social media producer. He has previously worked as a news reporter and radio producer in the Pilbara. His story focussed on the new trend of online activism, and how digital campaigns are increasingly being used, as alternatives to traditional strikes and picketing.