Youth Initiative – previous winners


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 LubeckHarley 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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