Introducing our recently appointed Regional Youth Engagement Officer (Barwon South-West), Yalanda Edwards!

I am a Proud WaddaWurrung, Gunditjmara & Arrernte Woman, lucky enough to have been born and raised on my homelands of WaddaWurrung country. I feel very privileged to now live close to Eastern Marr Country.

For as long as I can remember, I have always had a fierce passion for the youth sector, in particular the Youth Justice System. I strive to pour that passion into empowering Young Mob across Victoria and delivering more sustainable opportunities and outcomes for Young Mob across the Barwon southwest region. 

I draw strength, guidance and inspiration from both my grandmother (Merryn Apma) & grandfather (Trevor Edwards) who had both taken their paths to work tirelessly in many roles, advocating for Mob across Victoria.  

My grandfather was a founding member of the Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative in Geelong and sat as CEO throughout my upbringing years. My youngest memories have always been attached to that space, running around the building and in and out of Pop’s office. He was an extremely hard worker, picking my brother and me up from school and returning to the office with us kids to continue his work. No matter how hard he worked, he always had time for a cuppa with any Mob in the community. He has instilled these morals into my values, and I am grateful for that. 

I am a strong advocate for the voices of Young Mob, I often found myself in spaces such as schools, throughout my upbringing, that made me believe I wasn’t capable or that I just wasn’t quite enough, no matter how hard I had worked. At times this did run me down but it was the strength and guidance of Mob that brought me back to myself. I know a lot of Young Mob can relate to that feeling of being put in a box, and I want to be able to break down these barriers in as many spaces as possible. 

I saw this opportunity arise when KYC advertised the role earlier this year and I immediately knew this was the space I wanted to step into. I now sit with and work alongside a team of young inspiring Mob, and I feel very proud walking into work. Our workplace is a reflection of young blak excellence. I look around and KNOW that we are more than capable, and so is every young Blak person, no matter where you come from.

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