Supporting young people's wellbeing through environmental volunteering and action
How can local government better support young people who are passionate about caring for our environment? This is the question that Flinders University Master of Social Work student Melissa Willoughby is working hard to answer.
As part of her studies, Melissa is completing a semester placement at Adelaide Hills Council, working in partnership with our Community and Social Planning Officer, Josh Spier.
Mel's interest in supporting young people who are passionate about environmental volunteering and action began with first-hand experience through her own family.
"I saw my daughter become very involved in climate change activism at a young age and witnessed the huge weight and responsibility taken on by young people," said Mel.
"I realised that it’s important for young people to have support and be able to debrief their emotions and feelings around the state of the planet. Seeing the adults in their life also taking environmental action, so that they don’t feel that the full burden is in them, is also supportive”.
Through Melissa's University she was place at the Adelaide Hills Council and given the opportunity to build her placement project around an area of interest from the recent Southern and Hills Regional Public Health and Wellbeing Plan 2022-27.
"It was clear that Council was interested in supporting young people to be active citizens and volunteers, have a voice, and be able to make change but in a way that is sustainable and supports their overall wellbeing, " said Melissa.
"So far, the work has revealed some interesting insights and been inspiring. I'm really looking forward to sharing the results with the Council and young people who participated in the consultation."
To assist with understanding how local government can support and promote young Hills residents to participate in environmental volunteering and action, Melissa is asking local young people to take part in a short online survey or interview.
The online survey is open to anyone aged between 15-24 years who have been involved with environmental volunteering or action, or you are looking to get involved and will be open until 18 June. Participate in the survey here or follow the link below.
There is also the opportunity to participate in an interview that will form part of the research. If you or someone you know would like to get involved, please contact Melissa Willoughby at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (08) 8408 0579.