We seem to get a buzz from calling young people lazy, entitled and self-obsessed. The frenzy around them spending too much money on smashed avo and too much time taking selfies is nothing new - but somehow we still seem to think this generation is the worst, most disinterested bunch.
This generation has experienced perhaps the most rapid, dramatic shifts of societal standards than any other generation before them. Overwhelmingly this has resulted in a generation more driven toward progressing constant social change.
The Oxford Dictionary word of 2017 was ‘youthquake’, meaning a significant cultural, political, or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people.
With two major elections, first in the UK and second in New Zealand, usage of ‘youthquake’ spiked fivefold in 2017 compared to the previous year, describing a massive surge of young people making their political voices heard.
Of the over 100,000 new votes to join the electoral roll ahead of the Australian ‘yes’ marriage equality survey, an overwhelming 65% were young people. And in the results – 78% of young people (aged 18-19) voted yes.
On the back of a year of immense and vivid change across the globe, we need new, unrestrained ideas and new thinking to create a strong future. We need to amplify the ‘youthquake’ and ensure that young people’s creativity, fearlessness and unfettered thinking is unleashed.
In 2018 FYA is working to put these young people at the centre, to ensure they are not just getting a seat at the table, but they’re actively engaged in the conversation and given licence to take the wheel.
Here are 15 young Future Chasers ready to send ‘youthquakes’ through 2018:
A 27 year old technology and public health professional from Melbourne, in 2016, Adam Jahnke founded Umps Health after his grandpa was hospitalised due to a fall at home. Umps Health uses machine learning enabled power plugs and lighting to empower the elderly to live safe and independent lives at home.
Ally Watson runs, Code Like a Girl, a small initiative with big ambitions to inspire females into careers in coding and leadership roles within the tech industry. Code Like a Girl has an online community of women and hosts free events around Melbourne with a focus on celebrating women in the local tech-industry.
Andy Barley is re-imagining science. His project, Sci-Ground, is a modern, colourful, fascinating science playground which turns public spaces into STEM exploration spaces. The physical experience is augmented by an immersive app connecting the community with the ways STEM is improving our lives. Sci-Ground provides kids with a captivating opportunity to get outside and discover science handson.
An advocate for children’s rights, Chris Varney is the founder and CEO of the I CAN Network. I CAN Network is driving a rethink of Autism so that young Australians on the spectrum think ‘I CAN’, not ‘I Can’t’, in response to their challenges and opportunities. Chris was inspired to start I CAN from the exemplary support his family and friends provided in helping him channel his Asperger’s.
Jordan O’Reilly is the co-founder of Fighting Chance and hireup, an online platform revolutionising the way Australians with disability find, hire and manage their own home care and support workers. From the age of 16 Jordan has dedicated his life to working with people with disabilities ensuring they gain access to work opportunities and their choice of quality care. Jordan has led disruptive innovation in the disability care sector, working within the newly minted NDIS.
Hunter Johnson / Jamin Heppell
HeadQuarters Australia is a preventative mental health and emotional intelligence organisation co-founded by Hunter Johnson and Jamin Heppell. Heading up initiatives including The Man Cave, the duo are working to empower a generation of young people with the social and emotional skills to lead a life of connection, purpose and positive impact.
The 2017 UN Youth Representative, Paige Burton previously served as the National Education Director and Chair of the Board for United Nations Youth Australia. Paige helped develop the UN Youth Australia’s national curriculum, founded the first national advocacy-oriented public speaking competition (Voice), and facilitated educational tours of Timor-Leste and the Middle East for high school students.
A 28 year old Gumbaynggirr woman from Brisbane, in 2016 Lisa Rapley co-founded Yuludarla Karulbo, an organistation with two important goals. The first is to engage Indigenous people in sharing culture in our wider communties, and the second is to empower Indigenous youth to achieve their dreams. Yuludarla Karulbo has delivered cultural workshops to over 1200 school children, and is in the process of creating a space to empower Indigenous youth on their leadership journey.
Mikhara is a 27 year old social entrepreneur from regional NSW. In 2017 she founded ‘Ethnic LGBT+’, a free online community resource intended to provide support, education and mentorship for individuals who identify at the intersection of sexual and gender diversity and cultural and linguistic diversity. Ethnic LGBT+ has reached 100s of individuals around Australia and is based on the strong belief that stories save lives.
Natasha is a 23 year old social entrepreneur from Melbourne. She is the Managing Director of Tijimbat (Teachabout Inc.) which facilitates community programs in remote Northern Territory during the school holidays. Tijimbat provides paid employment for community Program Leaders who, along with voluntary Activity Leaders, facilitate cultural, vocational and academic based activities for kids aged from 0 to 15. If not working or completing her studies in Law and International Relations, Natasha can be found in the dance studio.
Nayuka Gorrie is an Aboriginal activist and writer, primarily concerned with the topics black politics and feminism. She’s written on topics including her ever-changing stance on constitutional recognition, recited her work at Melbourne literary salon Women of Letters and works in the youth not-for-profit sector as a program manager. An author, social commentator and comedian, Nayuka is passionate about self-determination and culture.
The Founder and CEO of the Council for Young Africans Living Abroad, Nkosana empowers young Africans to find work, to develop into borderless thinkers and future leaders and to change how African youth are perceived by some in Australia. Passionate about advancing humanity through business, Nkosana was part of the 2017 Young Social Pioneers cohort.
At just 15 Taj Pabari was the youngest ever Young Social Pioneer to take out the prize money in 2015. An inventor, entrepreneur and educational pioneer with a passion for inspiring children in today’s emerging 21st Century Digital Economy discover the great world of entrepreneurship through technology and innovation, Taj is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Fiftysix. Fiftysix is an exciting and interactive way for children to immerse themselves in innovative technology through continuous creation and entertaining education.
Usman is the co-founder of Catalysr, a startup incubator working with exceptional individuals from migrant and refugee backgrounds, by supporting them to break down barriers to employment and starting their own businesses. They’ve worked with 40 entrepreneurs from migrant/refugee background in their first year, which has led to 10 new businesses. These businesses have created over $300,000 in revenue, and 25 full-time jobs and are continuing to grow. Catalysr’s vision is to create a “migrapreneurial” revolution in Australia. Its mission is to create 10,000 jobs in Australia in the next 10 years.
In 2016 Vanessa Marian founded Groove Therapy, aimed at making dance accessible to all walks of life. The program has brought dance to at-risk youth, Indigenous communities, dementia sufferers, refugee girls and the every-day person, using the political and healing foundations that these street dance styles are built upon and mindfully appropriating it in new communities to help spark global conversation and cultural understanding.