- 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."
- 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
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