Congratulations to the 14 youth leaders who today graduate from our Leading Voices Program.
Bringing youth into leadership positions at Canteen continues a tradition that began at our founding. Canteen was created by young people in 1985. It was set up by young people, for young people, and they guide what we do at every level.
The new graduates were Canteen leaders selected for the program because of their leadership and experience. They’re all incredible young people who have been impacted by cancer and received Canteen support themselves. Now, they want to share their story to raise awareness and support. We’re looking forward to seeing them shine as Canteen youth ambassadors.
During the Leading Voices program, the cohort got to know each other, as well as learn more about the role of a youth ambassador. They also all spent some time learning more about all the different services and support available through Canteen for young people impacted by cancer.
The participants from all parts of Australia came together virtually, and included three from New Zealand, which is the first time Canteen Australia has officially joined with Canteen Aotearoa.
Nikki Williams is Canteen Brand & Communications Manager who led the program. She says it was wonderful to see so many inspiring young leaders coming together.
“It was such a successful program and exciting to have such a large number graduate this year, all keen to give back, especially after a few years of Covid delays. It was also special to be joined by Canteen Aotearoa for the first time too and we’re looking forward to more collaborations in the future,” she says.
As well as hearing from Canteen Executive members and current ambassadors, the group was lucky enough to be joined by external speakers and facilitators, on everything from understanding the media, how to plan for interviews and handle difficult questions that may arise. They spent time learning about storytelling and creating great content, to help them tell their own cancer story in the most articulate, authentic and inspiring way possible. They also developed technological skills and were encouraged to think of how to use various platforms, and the way to reach multiple audiences.
As well as help them in their roles as youth ambassadors, what they learnt during the program will be useful throughout their lives and across all areas of work and education.
The new youth ambassadors will now work to raise awareness about what we do at Canteen and how young people between the ages of 12 and 25 who are impacted by cancer can access the support services. By them sharing their own stories, and spreading the message that help is available, it’s hope other young people impacted by cancer will feel comfortable to reach out, and maybe even one day become youth ambassadors themselves.
• Emily from the Australian Capital Territory • Taylor from New South Wales • Elliott from Queensland • Jupiter, Emily and Michael from Victoria • Natalie and Ryan from Tasmania • Ash, Belle and Shannae from Western Australia • Janine, Joshua and Megan from Canteen Aotearoa