Western Australia Minister for Youth Donna Faragher
Inspirational Refugee Artist Is WA’s Young Person Of The Year
Victor P Taffa
A 22-year-old Joondanna man who has used his experiences growing up in refugee camps to help young people integrate into the Western Australian community has been named 2010 WA Young Person of the Year.
Jeremiah ‘Jeremy’ Wordsworth received the prestigious award from Youth Minister Donna Faragher at a gala ceremony last night.
Jeremy, who also won the Create! Propel Youth Arts Award first realised the power the arts could have on people’s lives when he wrote and acted in a play with the American Rescue Committee as a child in a refugee camp in Guinea.
“Originally from Liberia, Jeremy fled his home country when war broke out, living in Cote d’Ivoire, then the refugee camp in Guinea before arriving in Australia five years ago.” Mrs. Faragher said.
“Soon after arriving in Perth, he approached the Metropolitan Migrant Resource Centre about creating the ‘Migrants Got Talent’ Program to provide activities for youth from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
“A passionate advocate of the arts and art therapy, Jeremy worked hard to self-fund his programs as he strongly believed they would make a difference in the lives of the young participants.”
Since then Jeremy has gone on to launch Big Dreams Entertainment, a youth-run organisation that showcases the artistic talents of young people.
“Through his hard work, dedication and commitment, Jeremy has established himself as a role model for young people of all backgrounds.” the Minister said.
“With his creativity and positive attitude he has helped many young refugees integrate into their local communities but, more importantly he has brought much happiness to those families who have come to Australia to seek a brighter future.”
The WA Youth Awards, in their 12th year, recognise outstanding West Australians aged 12 to 25.
The awards featured eight categories honouring people for their contributions to the community across a range of fields – environmental; artistic; humanitarian; sport and recreation; and citizenship.
Mrs Faragher introduced a new award to recognise youth workers for their contribution to the community.
Young journalists and photographers were also honoured for their portrayal of young people and youth issues in the media.
A complete list of WA Youth Awards winners:
- Innovate! BHP Billiton Award: Youth Tree (Fremantle) for promoting citizenship by increasing the number of youth volunteers;
- Motivate! Woodside Award: Joshua Yates (21, Busselton) for his commitment to helping others overcome adversity;
- Recreate! Office for Youth Award: Joshua McMurray (17, Maddington) for his proactive approach to youth leadership;
- Create! Propel Youth Arts Award: Jeremiah Wordsworth (22, Joondanna) for encouraging the integration of young refugees into the WA community through art and art therapy;
- Educate! Edith Cowan University Award: Holly Ransom (20, Mt. Claremont) for her work with numerous community organisations and for promoting women’s leadership;
- Activate! Department of Environment and Conservation Award: Alexander Craig (16, Como) for his climate change and environmental advocacy;
- Highly commended – Jessica Gill (17, Middle Swan) and Laura Ryan (16, Middle Swan) for their work in creating an energy awareness competition targeting WA primary school students;
- Participate! Commissioner for Children and Young People’s Award: Tyson McEwan (14, Geraldton) for his tireless volunteering and work with at-risk youth;
- Minister for Youth’s Most Outstanding Youth Worker Award: Juaini Taylor (Katanning) for providing social and employment opportunities for young people from culturally diverse backgrounds;
- Charmaine Dragun Judges’ Commendation for a journalist aged under 25: Nicholas Sas (Albany Advertiser) for his article ‘Should I stay or should I go?’