Passion for volunteering reaps rewards

Passion for volunteering reaps rewards

On Friday 1 April Grace Liley, a team member of the Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of NSW and the ACT Communications team won the NSW/ACT Young Achiever of the Year, WHO Printing Environment and Sustainability Award.

The Award acknowledges her tireless efforts as the NSW Coordinator for The Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC). As part of this role she volunteered up to three days and two nights each week as well as working as the Digital Coordinator for the Synod NSW/ACT Communications team.

During 2015, Grace coordinated a program called ‘Youth Decide’, facilitating large groups of volunteers to educate 5,000 school students on sustainability and climate change. Grace organised volunteer community groups to advocate against the proposed coal ports on the Great Barrier Reef, culminating in a huge campaign win for the AYCC.

“It was incredible to win the Reef Campaign, after working on it myself for over a year. We never really knew if we could pull it off, and when we did it really just drove home for us that if we all work together on clever campaigns, even as young people, we can achieve huge things. I feel so lucky to be a part of it all, being recognised for it is just icing on the cake,” noted Grace upon receiving the award.

Grace was also manager of the youth section for Sydney’s People’s Climate March, constituting a crowd of 45,000 and coordinated with the National Assembly on the Uniting Church presence at the marches throughout November last year.

“It was fantastic to see the Uniting Church coming together on such a national scale to support the People’s Climate March. The huge numbers of people came together to demand ambitious targets to be set in Paris. We really saw results with the aim to stay under 1.5 degrees. Changing the rhetoric in the media toward climate change is the real goal and objective. I am passionate about climate change and this is what makes our contributions so important,” said Grace of her involvement in the People’s Climate March.

The awards:

  • Acknowledge and highlight the achievements of young Australians.
  • Educate the general public with examples of youth achievement.
  • Encourage and motivate young Australians at all levels in their chosen field of endeavour.
  • Develop a sense of pride in being an Australian.
  • Build self-confidence through rewards for excellence.
  • Provide role models and mentors for our youth by highlighting their achievements and the pursuit of excellence.
  • Develop and encourage leadership and life skills in young Australians.

We are proud of Grace’s achievements in this area and her tireless campaigning for the environment amongst her peers and as part of her role for the Uniting Church Synod of NSW and the ACT.

Grace also volunteered in India last year and her reflections on this experience can be read here.

Photo: Grace (left) Awarded NSW/ACT Young Achiever of the Year, WHO Printing Environment and Sustainability Award on Friday 1 April.



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