Stacey Oliver sees great power in inspiring young people.
It’s a belief she shares with YMCA Ballarat in her role as director of community and youth engagement.
“Any opportunities I can supply for young people makes me very happy,” Mrs Oliver said.
YMCA Ballarat runs youth and and community programs to offer opportunities for individual change and improvement.
“Work is very different every day, but I get so much out of making that slight shift in someone’s life.”
Mrs Oliver has worked with YMCA for almost 14 years, the last five in her current role.
She oversees multiple YMCA youth centres, runs leadership programs, develops community partnerships and manages the Delacombe centre’s community garden, amoung a range of other responsibilities.
“We work from kindergarten age to older adults delivering programs for people right across the spectrum with a range of different outcomes around that, right from social connectedness, healthy living and youth empowerment,” she said.
Working with young people every day in her job means Mrs Oliver can return home to share stories of youth achievement with her children, aged 10 and 8.
“My kids are very fortunate and I remind them that every day,” she said.
“I am able to share those stories of young people making change for the better with my kids, so hopefully they can be a bit more grateful for how fortunate they are.”
Health and physical activity is important to Mrs Oliver and her family, who enjoy bike riding, walking and swimming.
They moved to Ballarat for work in 2006 after living in Greendale and growing up in Geelong.
I instantly felt a sense of community here.Stacey Oliver
“I was not really engaged in activities and things happening in Geelong, whereas it was very easy to get involved in community activities in Ballarat,” she said.
With continuing challenges for young people in Ballarat and plenty of work to do to support them, Mrs Oliver said she continued to look forward to creating opportunities for others with YMCA.
She said mental health and finding their place proved major challenges for young people, and including young people in discussions about the development of the city would be crucial in coming years.
Creating opportunities is the future for supporting young people in Ballarat.Stacey Oliver
“How else can we get the whole of the youth community involved in decision making and advocating for things that are important to them?,” she said.
“I love Ballarat, I love the YMCA, I couldn’t think of a better place to be both as a region but also in a job. I am happy to come to work every day.”
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