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Youth Awards a celebration of children and young people

Compassion, hard work and determination.

These are three words that come to mind when I think about Emily Hardbottle, the 15 year-old student from Santa Maria College who was named as the recipient of the Commissioner for Children and Young People’s Participate Award.

I was honoured to have the opportunity to present this award at the official 2015 Youth Awards ceremony last week in recognition of Emily’s outstanding dedication to making a positive change in her community.

The award recognises Emily’s efforts to improve the lives of children with physical disability by helping to establish a new Wheelchair Basketball program in Melville, and to give young carers a voice.

I was particularly impressed with Emily’s initiative to create such a positive transitional program for young people with a disability, especially recognising the numerous physical and social benefits participating regularly in sport brings.

Well done to the three other Participate Award finalists – Aaron Johnston, Shannieka Martino and Danikka Calyon, who was named as Highly Commended for the category. All three finalists have achieved fantastic outcomes in their community and, along with Emily, are destined for a bright future.

I also congratulate Preston Culbong, 22, the young Aboriginal man who has overcome homelessness and family problems and has been named WA's Young Person of the Year for 2015.

These young people not only make a huge personal difference in the communities, but they are also an inspiration for other children and young people, as they show what can be achieved with commitment and hard work.

I would also like to thank CEO Craig Comrie and his team at the Youth Affairs Council of WA, the Department of Local Government and Communities, and other sponsors, for their commitment to this important event.

Colin Pettit
Commissioner for Children and Young People