Youth Recognition Awards 2024

2024 Youth Recognition Awards illustration.jpg

Annually the Onkaparinga Youth Committee assist in delivering the Youth Recognition Awards - where young people aged 8 to 25 are recognised, celebrated and honoured for their outstanding actions in improving their communities, self and securing their futures.  

An invite only ceremony was held during SA Youth Week at the Port Noarlunga Arts Centre, the evening of Monday March 18 where 93 young people were recognised for their achievements across the five categories below:

  • Learning Success: A category for young people who have achieved significant academic success whether it be ‘getting the grade’, mentoring other young people to do so or showcased excellence in learning new skills.
  • Personal Achievement: This category shines a light on those who have overcome adversity and shown resilience through personal hardship to overcome the many challenges life can throw at young people.
  • Contribution to Community: An award that acknowledges the young people who give extra time back to community groups, schools and other programs that benefit the people of Onkaparinga.
  • Business, Employment & Social Enterprise: An award to recognise young people who have turned their ideas into business and social enterprise as well as acknowledging those young people who have worked hard to secure employment. This one is for the hard workers, innovative thinkers and change makers!
  • Onkaparinga Youth Worker of the Year: This category returns again this year. To be eligible for this award the nominated person can be of any age but must work with young people from the Onkaparinga area. Workers include but are not limited to: Police, Child Protection, Health, Education, Youth Work and Youth Services including those working with young people in the sports and recreation and arts and cultural sector. You do not have to be a ‘youth worker’ per say to be nominated in this category!

Download the 2024 Youth Recognition Award booklet(PDF, 2MB)

Onkaparinga Youth Committee (OYC)

The OYC is the organising body for the Youth Recognition Awards and consists of young people aged 12-25 years who are passionate about playing an active role in their community. The awards were developed by the OYC as a way of celebrating the valuable contributions young people make to our community.

For more information about the OYC.

If you would like to be a part of the Onkaparinga Youth Committee you can keep an eye on our website for when applications are open.

If you would like more information about the Youth Recognition Awards or the OYC please contact Joshua Stokes, Community Development Youth Coordinator at

2024 Award Winners

The 2024 Youth Recognition Awards were held during SA Youth Week on the evening of Monday, March 27 at Port Noarlunga Arts Centre. Nominations opened in January for the five award categories and closed on March 1 2023.

93 nominations were received across five categories, and the recipients below were honoured following performances from Cardijn College Jazz Ensemble and a series of videos from our Love the Journey program.

Naomi and Maureen from ‘Spirit in Unity’ welcomed us to country and kickstarted the evening with a song and dance, also sharing the importance of recognising young leaders and their achievements.

Now, meet this year's Youth Recognition Award recipients.

Business, Employment and Social Enterprise – Sienna Kate Jones

Sienna is a self-driven, young entrepreneur who has taken her hair braiding passion and turned it into a thriving small business, 'Hair by Sienna Kate'. Sienna is only 14 years old, but her business thinking is beyond her years. Sienna attends local markets, organising braiding birthday party bookings and has many returning customers, particularly cheerleading participants, who require perfect braids for their competitions.

Contributions to Community – Jack Dobson

Eight-year-old Jack was committed and trained hard for a 10km run in the Victor Harbor Marathon in December to raise money for two children with cancer. One of the children, Spencer, sadly lost his battle two weeks before the run. Jack raised $4000 for the families and completed the run in one hour and six minutes.

Personal Achievement – Charli Haining Kennedy

Charli has overcome severe scoliosis and a spinal fusion. Charli was told she’d unlikely be able to participate in her favourite sport of cheerleading again. Not to be deterred, Charli worked so hard to overcome her physical challenges. After many hours of hard work, Charli worked her way into a level 6 cheer team that won the right to represent their club at the Cheerleading Worlds. Charli has worked extremely hard to fulfill this dream of hers and hasn’t let the physical obstacles stop her.

Learning Success – Harmony Bailey

Harmony (15, year 10) has exceeded academic excellence, receiving the Dux award at her school for the past three years—the highest award a school can bestow on a student for academic excellence. In addition, she received the Muriel Matters award in year 8—an award typically only given to students in years 10–12, but the school thought she was absolutely deserving. She has been awarded many school awards and was nominated by peers and teachers to represent her school as Issachar leader three years in a row.

Youth Worker of the Year – Deb Coad

Deb works with senior students who are either unsure of their future direction and/or disengaging from school. Deb works to set goals for each student, transports and supports students at job interviews and with mental health concerns, supports with strategies, visits to outside agencies to support wellbeing, and directs and assists with enrolling students in training programs, including TAFE courses, university study, short courses and employment. She uses restorative practice strategies to support both students and her fellow teachers.