Youth Initiative – winners


Cooper Allum and Marley Perry were announced as joint Winners of the 2023 Award at the Annual General Meeting of Upper Yarra Community Enterprise (UYCE) in November.

“We are pleased to have not just one but two extraordinary recipients this year who exemplify all that the Award stands for and congratulate and thank Cooper and Marley for THEIR contribution to community at such a young age. They are clearly destined for great things, and we wish them the very best in whatever they pursue.”  – Elizabeth Fox, UYCE Board member

COOPER ALLUM, was nominated by Catherine Aulich Upper Yarra Basketball Association for his volunteer community contributions to:

  • Upper Yarra Basketball Association Inc – Assistant Referee Advisor & Referee Trainee Program Lead
  • Upper Yarra Secondary College – Student Representative Council

MARLEY PERRY, was nominated by Mitchell Gray Upper Yarra Secondary College and Haley Toy Yarra Junction Junior Netball Club for her volunteer community contributions to:

  • Yarra Junction Junior Netball Club – Coach of the U13 team; Coach of the U11 team
  • Wesburn Junior Football Club – Trainer for the U11 team
  • Upper Yarra Secondary College – Assisting with running the local primary school sports programs

Congratulations Marley and Cooper!



UYCE is pleased to announce that the Winner of the Ian De La Rue Youth Initiative Award for 2021 is

ROSIE HELLICAR of Warburton. 

Rosie was presented with her award at the Annual General Meeting of UYCE Ltd held last night, Wednesday 17 November 2021.

Upper Yarra Community Enterprise hold the Ian De La Rue Youth Initiative Award to recognise, acknowledge, and reward a young person Under 25 who makes a positive contribution to their Upper Yarra community. Whether it be through a Community organisation, group, school, club or workplace.

We know it has been again been a challenging year, due to Covid-19, and we have all been tested with lockdowns.  With this Award we have an opportunity to turn the spotlight onto the fabulous inspiration and commitment of our young people, bring some cheer and give us more reasons to commend and celebrate our local Community and our amazing YOUTH!

ROSIE HELLICAR, was nominated by Kelly Taylor her teacher at Cire, for her involvement and commitments with:

  • Misfit Project (Theatre Group)working as an Assistant on productions that involve and cater for young people in the Upper Yarra, giving them a place to belong and develop.
  • Koha Community Cafévolunteer at this weekly community café, providing meals for those who may not otherwise be able to support their family
  • Interchange Outer Eastvolunteer disability support worker attending camps and day activities helping children participate and engage in the programs

At 17 years of age, Rosie has demonstrated her unwavering philosophy of service to others and the Upper Yarra community, and is a true role model.

She is a worthy recipient of the 2021 Ian De La Rue Youth Initiative Award and we are pleased to recognise her contributions present, past and undoubtably future.


And sincere thanks to Kelly for the nomination.



We are pleased to announce ‘JOINT WINNERS’ of the 2020 Ian De La Rue Youth Initiative Award.

Our annual award for 2020 goes jointly to Ashlee Shotter and Jordynne Castleton, and they each receive $1,000.

In the spirit of Ian De La Rue, who the award is named after, both have made outstanding positive contributions to the Community and we are pleased to recognise, acknowledge and reward them for their efforts.

With a record number of nominations received from the public this year, it was fantastic to see so many young people doing things in the community.

Our Congratulations are extended to Ashlee and Jordynne!

Joint winner of  Ian De La Rue Youth Initiative Award 2020 is Ashlee Shotter, pictured here with Emily Sharp, Assitant Branch Manager

Ashlee was nominated by Bronwyn Foley.

ASHLEE has been recognised for her volunteer contribution to her local netball club in coaching Under 11s and coordinating fund raising activities; her active involvement in the CAN for Cambodia project fundraising for Cambodian landmine amputees; her volunteer involvement with the local aged care facility and her student leadership and support – serving on the SRC as President and being College Captain at her school.

Joint winner of  Ian De La Rue Youth Initiative Award 2020 is Jordynne  Castleton, pictured here with Neil Jorgensen, UYCE Board Member and Community Investment Committee member

Jordynee was nominated by Sarah Ward.

JORDYNNE has been recognised for leadership roles at school, Rotary Camps and the MISFITS Theatre Group.  Special mention is made of her project MISFIT online which she developed in response to Covid19 impacts – enabling people of all ages to access a safe supportive online space for engagement; and in weekly programs and activities.


cropped 2019 Ian De La Rue Youth Initiative Award Recipient - Raegan Charlton Smith (L) with Elizabeth Fox UYCE Board Member (R) v2 copyThe winner of  Ian De La Rue Youth Initiative Award 2019 is Raegan Charlton Smith pictured here with Elizabeth Fox, UYCE Board Member.

Reagan was nominated by Jennifer Storey.

Reagan Charlton Smith is on a mission to break down the barriers between young people and the aged. She recently completed work placement at AdventCare in Warburton, supporting aged people to improved the quality of their lives. Since the age of 12 years old, she has prided herself on building positive relationships with the residents at AdventCare, visiting with the elderly at her mother’s place of work. During this time, the 18 year old, has grown and matured learning important skills in empathy, and about the needs of the aged physically, cognitively, sensory, culturally and spiritually.
Reagan has experienced first hand the way having younger people around can lift an older person’s spirits and has set her life purpose to support the elderly live their best lives, and encourage other young people to consider their options and work in Aged Care as well. Her choices are a great example of how to bring the elderly and young together in the Upper Yarra Valley.


This year, Teri McIntyre was awarded our Ian De La Rue Youth Initiative Award.

Teri was nominated by Isabella Andueza. This is what she had to say:

Teri is a key driver of “The Girls Movement” organisation. She saw a gap in the local community for a young women’s support network and was motivated to make a difference. Teri believes that one of the most important things for young women today is empowerment.

On top of working full time, Teri has been completing her course to become a qualified female self-defence instructor. She is currently developing programs and initiatives to engage and empower girls in the Upper Yarra Valley.


In 2017, two Youth Initiative Awards were presented.
Alyssa Parkins was nominated by Fiona Gilsenan from the Redwood Community Centre, with additional input from Heather Sayer from Interchange Outer East. This is what they had to say:

Alyssa has been mentoring with the Redwood Community Centre for 5 years and has been an integral part of our Redwood Kids mentoring program. Alyssa has grown strong bonds with the primary school children, even helping in the transition of some of our grade six participants into the local high school.

Alyssa has been a volunteer with Interchange Outer East for a year and a half. Alyssa started volunteering on recreation activities in the weekends and school holidays and has continued to volunteer on a regular basis. In this short time Alyssa has contributed by volunteering over 600 hours of her own time with Interchange Outer East supporting young children with a disability to have fun and their parents to have a much needed break from their caring role. Alyssa demonstrates a great deal of maturity as a volunteer. Not only is she a wonderful mentor to our participants particularly, but she is also a brilliant role model to other volunteers and staff.

Rachel Lee was nominated by the Principal of Upper Yarra Secondary College, Scott Tully. This is what he had to say about Rachel:
Rachel is an outstanding young lady dedicated to improving her community. She is very active within it and displays a genuine desire to help others and to make our community a better place.

She is currently the College Captain and Student representative Council President, representing the students on the school Council, and has led a very active student body, particularly in relation to open conversations regarding mental health.

She has also been a junior basketball and netball coach and basketball referee for a number of years. More recently she was successful in gaining part time employment with the Yarra Ranges Council as a youth ambassador, representing both the views and needs of the young person demographic and involvement in future planning.

Rachel has made a significant impact at Upper Yarra Secondary College in representing the student voice. Led by Rachel, the SRC has been very active this year both in consultation with School leadership and Council and amongst the student body, including leading a number of student based activities between year levels designed to foster collaboration and improve student sense of belonging and connection.



Every year, the Ian De La Rue Youth Initiative Award recognises the contribution young people make to our community. The activities and passions of Award recipients can be varied, and all help to make our community better and stronger.

This year we acknowledge five young people in our community as part of our Youth Initiative Award. The contribution made by Aleksei Bondarenko-Edwards, Rebecca Lumsden-Keys, Harley Lubeck, Hannah Mahoney and Steven Sanders was held is such high regard by our Board Members it was impossible to isolate just one winner. On behalf of our community, we say thank you to these young people for the opportunities they create for others as leaders in our towns, each of who receives $1000.

Aleksei Bondarenko-EdwardsAleksei Bondarenko-Edwards (age 24)
nominated by Lesley Grimes

“Aleksei is well connected in our community. He is enthusiastic, positive and motivated to be inclusive of people from culturally diverse backgrounds and is responsive to the needs of those experiencing disadvantage.”Lesley Grimes

Aleksei is a local champion for affordable health and wellbeing. Through his work at the Yarra Centre, he has created positive networks with community health practitioners, and mental health support networks and runs programs to engage with young adults in the local community. He has youthful energy and his skills in marketing/social media have provided new perspectives in connecting his community. He has supported ‘Community Bank Warburton Up and Running’ to showcase Warburton as a place of recreation and encourage the community to exercise. Aleksei is completing his Masters in Community Development.

RebeRebecca Lumsden-Keyscca Lumsden-Keys (age 22)
nominated by Sarah Ward-Brumhead

“Bec has a passion for youth empowerment and works hard to create a better future for young people in the Upper Yarra Valley.”Sarah Ward-Brumhead
Rebecca is a director of MISFIT Theatre and is responsible for all theatre promotions, which includes encouraging young at-risk people and youth of all abilities to participate. She has profiled the stories of more than 140 young people through the MISFIT Facebook page encouraging a deeper level of understanding and providing a voice to youth in the valley. She is also bringing her leadership and organisational talents to The MISFIT Project, a social enterprise dedicated to driving opportunities for young people.

She is involved with River Valley Church, and is one of the organisers of Warburton Carols by Candlelight. Rebecca is a mother, a student at Deakin University and co-owner of a photography business.

Harley Lubeck (age 19)
nominated by Tony Aulich

“When Harley was out of action with a knee injury he volunteered instead. He never missed a night or a day and was reliability and initiative personified. He shows other youth they can do it.”Tony Aulich
When adversity struck, Harley rose to the challenge. Re-enrolling back into school, he has grown personally and been committed to making up lost ground. He is a role model to other young men and displays a keen interest in community. He was active in the Warburton Skatepark initiative and recently co-organised a fundraiser for War Veterans.

Harley is heavily involved in the Yarra Junction Football and Netball clubs and coaches their after-school kids football program. He is in Year 12 at the Cire Community School where he is senior Student Council Representative.

Hannah Mahoney
(age 15) nominated by Kate Barratt
Hannah Mahoney

“Her dedication and kindness has made a lasting impact on the Redwood Mentoring program and its kids.”Kate Barratt
Hannah understands one person can make a difference. She is a true advocate for Warburton and proudly volunteers at Koha Community Café, Redwood Kids resilience building program, the local school and the community gardens. She is considerate and passionate in her commitment to help and motivate others. She is currently Junior School Captain at Upper Yarra Secondary College. She recently offered ‘Free Hugs’ in Melbourne to spread the message of kindness.

Steven Sanders
(age 24) nominated Barry McDonald
Steven Sanders

“Without Steve’s drive, commitment and passion for his players there would be twenty young men without a football team.”Barry McDonald
When the Powelltown Football Club needed an Under 18 coach this year, Steven stepped up as a leader. Steven has, through his patience and determination, created a culture of hard work and a challenging, yet safe environment for the players who all look up to him, and despite not winning a game all year have remained committed and connected. Steve always leads with the values of honesty, respect and integrity.

YOUTH INITIATIVE 2014 – Kieren De Visser

YOUTH INITIATIVE 2014 - Kieren De Visser

Kieren De Visser being presented with the 2014 Youth Initiative Award by Chairman Peter Kimberley

Kieren De Visser was presented with the Youth Initiative Award 2014 in recognition of his passion for supporting efforts for cancer research. Instead of fundraising by the usual means, Kieren decided to ride from Uluru to Yarra Junction which took 26 days and he was able to raise about $10,000 for the Cancer Council.

YOUTH INITIATIVE 2013 – Skye Johnston

YOUTH INITIATIVE 2013: Skye Johnston

Skye Johnston (centre) accepts her award with her nominator
Rodney Fay from UYSC (left) and her mother Kim McIvor (right).

Skye Johnston was presented the 2013 award at the Upper Yarra Community Enterprise Annual General Meeting on Wednesday October 30, 2013. Skye is a year 10 student at the Upper Yarra Secondary College. She excels as a leader in both her basketball and school activities and is well regarded for her humanitarian work. Congratulations Skye.

YOUTH INITIATIVE AWARD 2012 – Sarah Ward and Lily Belle Hellicar

YOUTH INITIATIVE AWARD 2012: Sarah Ward and Lily Belle Hellicar

Sarah Ward and Lilly Helical receiving their Youth Initiative Awards at the
UYCE AGM in 2012

We were pleased to announce that in 2012 two inspiring young women received the Ian De La Rue Youth Initiative Award. They were Sarah Ward and Lily Belle Hellicar. Both work in their communities in different capacities and are passionate about what they do to make their communities a better place. Congratulations!

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