The Outstanding Youth Volunteers category formally recognises and celebrates young volunteers for the vital role they play in building and supporting stronger more connected communities in Victoria.

Please find the list of Outstanding Youth Volunteers award winners below:

Achmel Temple

Merri Community Health Services

After completing a student placement, Achmel continued as a volunteer, co-facilitating a drug and alcohol education program, and helping run youth camps. Achmel has helped engage a diverse range of young people. Sharing his personal experience of migration has provided great encouragement for participants to recount their own stories of challenge and hardship. Described as ’a young person full of inspiration, positivity and dreams’ Achmel is an excellent role model to the young people he supports.

Carrie Ewin

Longbeach PLACE

Carrie has run the Chelsea Personal Computer Support Group for over seven years assisting seniors to learn how to use technology. By developing and delivering group presentations, and providing one-on-one assistance, she has helped hundreds of seniors develop digital skills and reduce their social isolation. Carrie has been the driving force in organising corporate sponsorship and council grants to ensure the programs sustainability.

Dylen ‘Lenny’ Brown

Gannawarra Shire Council

Lenny is committed to strengthening the voice of young people and making rural communities better places to live. As Mayor of Gannawarra Shire Youth Council, she has raised the profile of youth issues and promoted awareness of, and respect for, the local Indigenous community. Lenny’s motivation for volunteering is ‘to see people happy' and despite study, work and family commitments she still finds the time for her community.


Elena Fonoti

The Salvation Army Melbourne Project 614

Since June 2014, Elena has volunteered more than 1300 hours to multiple programs supporting homeless and disadvantaged young people. She is described as being ‘passionate, committed and hard working’, tirelessly connecting with program participants so that they learn to trust project staff and volunteers. An integral part of the youth team, Elena volunteers on top of her full-time studies.

Georgina Fraser

Peninsula Health

Making a difference to the patient experience is what motivates Georgina to volunteer with the ‘Speak Up’ program and the Assistance and Care in Emergency team at Peninsula Health. She is described as, ‘a great ambassador, raising the profile of volunteering and inspiring other young people to consider ways they can help their community’. Georgina commits a minimum of six hours a week on top of her full-time study load and two part-time jobs. 

Katerina Blekic

Leo Club of Sunraysia, Lions Australia, Mildura Show Society

Katerina has been an active volunteer within her school and community from a very young age. A tireless fundraiser she once drove a tractor over 1,000 kms whilst completing her Gold Duke of Edinburg Award. Katerina helped form the Sunraysia Leo Club which encourages young people to become involved in the community. She is motivated by the desire to empower others, and to bring people and communities together to achieve their goals.


Madeleine Buchner

Little Dreamers Australia

At 16, Madeleine founded Little Dreamers, a charity that supports young carers, and aims to reduce the prevalence of mental illness in this target group, through dream experiences, education and advocacy. Since 2009, Madeleine has raised over $75,000 for the charity, and in 2014 set up and ran the first Young Carers Festival. On top of her own caring role, Madeleine studies full-time and regularly writes articles and gives speeches to raise awareness of the issues faced by young carers.

Pui Man ‘Penny’ Cheng

The Salvation Army Melbourne Project 614

Since April 2014, Penny has volunteered for a range of programs that directly support, and have a huge impact on, the lives of hundreds of the most marginalised people in the City of Melbourne. An international student undertaking full-time study and part-time work, Penny has contributed over 1000 volunteering hours, often filling cancellations at short notice and travelling a long distance on public transport. She is highly regarded for her exceptional work ethic and attitude towards volunteering.

Rex Punshon

Inner Melbourne Community Legal

Since August 2012, Rex has been volunteering every week at Inner Melbourne Community Legal. In addition to providing administrative support, he liaises with clients, courts and police, completes client intakes and researches areas of law. He has also assisted to deliver training to high school students on family violence and respectful relationships. Rex is known for his empathetic approach with clients and his willingness to go above and beyond what is asked of him.