With 100 facilities in Victoria alone and over 28 million participations nationally in 2017-18, it’s safe to say that the Y is an organisation with considerable impact. However, even within such a large operation, the importance of passionate individuals cannot be understated. Take Youth Empowerment Coordinator Jamie Roberts with the Y in Bendigo, central Victoria, who brought a global YMCA campaign to the young people of Bendigo, as an example of someone who lives the organisation’s belief in the power of inspired young people.
‘I am whole’ was comprised of a series of videos shared around world mental health day last October, featuring young people filmed by Jamie, who is also a video producer. The videos created directly reached 34,000 people, with hundreds of young people getting involved in the campaign. The video series brings to light the importance of achieving a synergistic relationship between mental and physical health, and the importance of starting and more importantly, normalising the conversation around mental health.
Creating impactful campaigns ultimately boils down to a secret to success shared by both Jamie and the Y; legitimately caring about enriching the lives of young people.
Throughout his long career in youth work, Jamie has developed a deep understanding of how to establish meaningful personal connections with the young people he works with, and has discovered real fun and fulfilment in providing young people with a person they can rely on.
“I want to be someone young people can trust and feel safe around, and sometimes that’s enough,” says Jamie.
Over the last 14 months, Jamie has brought his passion to the Y in Bendigo, which has always been a central point of the community in Bendigo. Armed with their continuing commitment to improving the local community and Jamie’s input, the Y in Bendigo hopes to become more welcoming and inclusive of young people.
The work that Jamie and the Y team in Bendigo do every day is nothing short of heroic, and yet they are responsible for creating just some of the Million Moments that make the Y special.