Young people from Ballarat secondary schools are working with community partners to turn their ambitious ideas into real life solutions.
Students from Ballarat Grammar, Mount Rowan Secondary College and Federation College pitched their big ideas about pressing issues to community representatives last week.
They are now posted on an online platform to receive feedback from the broader community.
The ideas were generated as part of Crazy Ideas College, a program that aims to build the capacity of young people to lead change.
Year 9 Ballarat Grammar students Perri Eaton, Annabel Plank, Molly Robson and Annabel Hodge pitched their idea to create mesh inspired recycled plastic bags as a substitute for fruit and vegetable bags currently available at supermarkets.
The students chose environmental sustainability as their issue and collected waste plastic soft drink bottles from around Lake Wendouree to trial making plastic string for the bags.
It helped us create something we are passionate about and gave us the tools to do it.Parri Eaton, Ballarat Grammar student
Annabel Plank said the bags weaved from recycled plastic string would be more eco friendly that cotton bags that used a large amount of water in prodcution.
Annabel Hodge said the pitch event was an opportunity for young people to express what they wanted their future to be.
"I think it is really good for young people to have a voice," Molly said.
"It helped us create something we are passionate about and gave us the tools to do it," Perri said.
Students formed groups and selected a topic they were passionate about as their focus idea for their community solution.
They researched the topic and were encouraged to develop creative solutions to the challenges that exist.
Community partners from Headspace, City of Ballarat, Ballarat Cemeteries, Ballarat Health Services and Eat, Drink, West provided feedback on their ideas at the pitch events held on Friday last week.
Another Ballarat Grammar team pitched a 'By Teens For Teens' exercise program in response to difficulties teenagers face finding a comfortable space to exercise inside, as many young people found adult gyms intimidating.
They said the free community program would be available for young people aged 12 to 18-years-old and run by teenagers themselves.
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Crazy Ideas College founder Kieran Murrihy told students on pitch day they had an opportunity to excite community partners about new possibilities.
"We believe if we are going to create a more healthy, prosperous community, young people are going to play a part in that," he said.
"We believe in young people as social innovators, as creators and as designers of better futures.
"We know it is one thing to care about issues, but it is another thing to step up and be a part of the solution.
"We need people who want to be a part of the solution. It is inspiring when it is young people standing up."
Mount Rowan Secondary College student Gisele Braeckmans said it was nerve-racking at first to step up and share their idea, but she hoped her team could bring their idea to life in the community.
Gisele was part of the 7A Well-being team that pitched an app designed to help students experiencing anxiety convey their feelings to their teacher without having to share with the class.
Mount Rowan Secondary College student Chloe Buckley said she was excited to share her group's idea with people who came to the pitch event especially to listen.
Student Henry Brennan was part of Mount Rowan Secondary College's 7A Environment team that pitched an education program for primary school pupils on plastics in an effort to reduce plastic waste.
Henry said the environment was an issue he was passionate about.
"It was really nice to share our idea and all the hard work we put into our idea. It was great to share it with community members and get their feedback," he said.
"We are the next generation and hopefully we can do something to help."
Other Mount Rowan Secondary College student pitch ideas included improving the cleanliness of Ballarat with an app that notifies residents of rubbish hot spots and provides incentives to clean up.
Another idea was a watch that can store and dispense hand sanitiser, to address the issue of hygiene and social connectedness amid COVID-19.
The well-being group pitched an idea in an effort to reduce alcohol abuse in society that can lead to sexual assault, child neglect, violence and trauma.
The idea was to create a card that tracks an individual's alcohol purchases and includes helplines and motivational quotes.
Mount Rowan Secondary College design technology teacher Dan Guerin said the students were passionate about their ideas and wanted to see change.
"I know the students have progressed as independent learners. I think from those initial two weeks starting this during online learning they have developed resilience," he said.
"Those two things are valuable to carry forward.
"In relation to researching information on the issues, whether it is sustainability or connectedness, it has really opened their eyes as to what is happening in Ballarat around them."
Community members are encouraged to visit Crazy Ideas College's CIC Beyond online platform to support and provide feedback on student ideas.
Crazy Ideas College and community partners will continue to work with students to help continue action on their ideas.
"We want to take the best of your thinking and make sure your inspired ideas are brought to life," Mr Murrihy said.
Committee for Ballarat, City of Ballarat and Ballarat Tech School have supported the Crazy Ideas College program.