YMCA Victoria and Deaf Children Australia (DCA) are pleased to announce a new partnership to progress our shared goal to empower young people to take active roles in their communities. Our first exciting initiative together is Deaf Children Australia’s involvement in the YMCA Victoria Youth Parliament. For the past 30 years, this program has given young Victorians between the ages of 16 – 25 a chance to be heard at the highest levels of State Government, on a wide range of issues that matter to young people. For the first time, there will now be a deaf team involved in the Youth Parliament.
YMCA Victoria Youth Services Manager Ian Boorman says, “YMCA Victoria prides itself on providing opportunities for all young people to discover what’s possible. The partnership with Deaf Children Australia will allow us to learn about how we can adapt our programs so they are truly inclusive for all young people.”
A total of twenty teams with six participants each will receive training in public speaking and leadership skills at camp at Lake Dewar Lodge YMCA, as they research issues that they feel strongly about. From this research, the teams will work together to make a Bill, and debate this in Victorian Parliament. The training weekend will be held from 26 – 28 May and the week long residential camp, including 3 days of debate in Parliament House, will be from 2 – 7 July. The Bills provide the Victorian Government with a greater understanding of what issues are important to young people. The Bill you help create could change Victorian law. More than 25 pieces of State Legislation have come from the Youth Parliament, including:
- Roadside Drug Testing for Drivers
- Over the Counter Availability of the Morning After Pill
- Mandatory Wearing of a Bicycle Helmet
- Removal of Glass from Identified High-Risk Entertainment Venues
- Gun Reformation Laws
If you are deaf, hard of hearing or a Child of Deaf Adult (CODA), between 16 – 25 years old and living in Victoria, you have a chance to be part of our team! You may be an Auslan user or a non-Auslan user. Everyone in the team will have a chance to have their say and be empowered through the Youth Parliament. There would be no registration fee and no costs for your involvement in the deaf team. Training, accommodation, transport, Auslan interpreters and captioning will be provided. All Youth Parliament leaders and participants will receive Deaf Awareness Training. DCA’s National Manager Client Services Russell Flynn states, “YMCA Youth Parliament creates fantastic opportunities for young people to learn how to become powerful advocates and speak out about the issues that matter most to them. We appreciate that the Victorian Parliament is committed to being inclusive of all citizens and we are really excited about this opportunity for deaf, hard of hearing and CODAs to have their say through the Youth Parliament.”
If you want to apply or ask more questions, contact DCA Youth Support Worker Tahlia Barry at firstname.lastname@example.org or text on 0409 553 121. An experienced Youth Parliamentarian will mentor our deaf team and Tahlia will lead the team. We are looking forward to putting a fantastic team together who can have their say on the issues that matter to them!
Applications to be part of the 2017 YMCA Victoria Youth Parliament DCA team close on 24 April so get in quick.
This exciting Youth Parliament program is run by YMCA Victoria in conjunction with the Victorian Government and is led by a volunteer Taskforce of past participants.