Hon Paul Miles MLA

Hon Paul Miles MLA

Former Minister for Local Government; Community Services; Seniors and Volunteering; Youth

    Young people shine at WA Youth Awards

    26/11/2016 7:00 AM
    • 19-year-old Vanessa Vlajkovic named 2016 WA Young Person of the Year

    A Dianella woman, who was the first deafblind person in Western Australia to enter university, has received the top award at the 2016 WA Youth Awards. 


    An aspiring journalist, Vanessa Vlajkovic helped establish Deafblind West Australians, an organisation providing support, social interaction and advocacy for deafblind individuals.


    Presenting the WA Young Person of the Year award at a gala ceremony last night, Youth Minister Paul Miles said what made Vanessa truly inspiring was the fact that she had never let her sensory loss prevent her from getting involved in her community.


    "Vanessa was born blind, learnt Braille by the age of four and was mainstream schooled.  By 16, her hearing had deteriorated and her only communication method was 'tactile' Auslan - the signs formed on her hands," Mr Miles said.


    "Vanessa is proof that nothing should get in the way of achieving goals.  Using her skills and experience, she advocates strongly within the deafblind community to help others realise their potential.


    "I commend Vanessa for her remarkable achievements and passion for making a positive difference, and I look forward to working with her as an ambassador for WA youth."


    The Minister said Vanessa was one of five outstanding individual category winners doing great work to make WA an even better place to live.


    "The Liberal National Government is proud to be involved with the WA Youth Awards, which showcase the energy, commitment and talents of our State's young people," Mr Miles said.


    "I wish all of the finalists and winners the best of luck, and I hope that they will all build on their success, whatever that may be." 


    Fact File

    • The awards are presented by the Youth Affairs Council of WA, in partnership with the Department of Local Government and Communities; and supported by Lotterywest
    • For more information, visit http://www.yacwa.org.au/wayouthawards

    Minister's office - 6552 6600

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    2016 WA Youth Awards - Winners


    Positive Achievement Award and WA Young Person of the Year

    Vanessa Vlajkovic, Dianella


    Commissioner for Children and Young People Participate Award

    Brianne Yarran, Bennett Springs


    ECU Community Leadership Award

    Courtney Fare, Seville Grove


    Cultural Endeavours Award

    Oscar Kaspi-Crutchett, Mount Lawley


    Minister for Youths' Outstanding Youth Worker Award

    Mark Bird, Currambine


    Organisational Achievement Award - Large Organisation

    Armadale Youth Intervention Partnership, Armadale


    Organisational Achievement Award - Small Organisation

    WA Youth Cancer Advisory Committee, Nedlands