Urgent Help
IS THIS AN EMERGENCY? Are you or others in danger? Do you need an ambulance or the police? 24 HOURS
Lifeline 24 hour phone line for crisis support and suicide prevention. 24 HOURS
13YARN 24 hour crisis phone line support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. 24 HOURS

Georgia’s story

Young Person  

The idea of ‘bringing your whole self to work’ has become something of a corporate trend in recent years. But for Georgia Willmott, tearing down the wall between your professional and personal lives is just business as usual.

As a Youth Advocate, it’s Georgia’s job to ensure that YSAS is meeting the needs of young people. And to do that, they start by holding their own lived experiences up to the light.

“I have PTSD and anxiety,” says Georgia, who uses they/them pronouns. “I’m also genderqueer and bisexual.” Instead of checking these parts of their identity at the door, Georgia uses them to assess YSAS’s performance. “Basically, I review how YSAS works, then I reflect on my own lived experiences to ask, Is this appropriate for young people? Do we need to make any changes?’”

In addition to drawing on their own experiences, Georgia also seeks out the opinions of the young people who use YSAS services. Recently, they’ve been busy promoting information and access improvements which will help clients provide feedback on their experiences safely and securely. The new client satisfaction survey, will help YSAS monitor how well it’s meeting its clients’ needs.

Georgia says the inspiration behind this project was personal. “When I was younger, I used a youth service outside of YSAS, and I had feedback and complaints that just kept snowballing over time. I had no outlet for me to share how I felt, and I knew if I told my youth worker they would take it personally and nothing would be done.”

At YSAS, Georgia says, things are different. “It’s really important to me that young people know they can share their feedback and complaints. Because we want to be a better service. We want to grow.” Youth Advocates like Georgia are one way YSAS is doing this; the improved feedback system is another. “When feedback is recorded, we can put in a policy and train staff about how to do things that don’t cause unintentional harm.”

The results, Georgia says, are obvious: services and support tailored to the needs of young people. And it takes a lot of hard work – not just from Georgia and their fellow Youth Advocates, but from management at all levels – to achieve this. “YSAS is a big organisation, and it can be a bit slow to roll out certain things,” Georgia says. “But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because we really focus on quality. We want things to work for young people. So we take the time to do that.”

Georgia Willmott

YSAS Youth Advocate

The latest from YSAS

Media Release  
23.05.2024

Up to 330 young people per year who come into contact with police will be denied access to an effective program that can turn them away from crime and toward a better future.

Despite a recent rise in youth crime and concerns about community safety, the State Government did…

Media Release  
23.04.2024

YSAS welcomes the Allan government’s Statewide Action Plan to reduce alcohol-related harm, including the appointment of Victoria’s first Chief Addiction Advisor.

YSAS CEO Andrew Bruun said the plan demonstrates the government’s commitment to making evidence-based harm reduction policy and treatment available to those who most need it.

“A targeted,…

Media Release  
23.04.2024

Young people with lived experience of drug and alcohol-related harm are disappointed the Victorian government won’t create a safe injecting service in Melbourne’s CBD.

YSAS practitioners, addiction medicine specialists and experts with lived and living experience have supported the life-saving North Richmond supervised safe injecting service since its inception in 2018.

Story  
22.04.2024

John Albrecht has fundraised for febfast each year for 15 years, often raising over $10,000. Here are his top tips for boosting your fundraising efforts.

When it comes to charity fundraisers – think febfast, Run for the Kids etc. – it’s often the money-raising bit that’s the hardest. We diligently…

Story  
04.03.2024

Daniel Robinson Croft is a lived and living experience Youth Peer Advocate at Youth Support and Advocacy Service (YSAS), Australia’s largest youth-specific community service organisation focussed on youth alcohol and other drugs, mental health and youth services. Daniel frequently volunteers for various harm reduction services within Victoria and is a community campaigner for…

Story  
08.02.2024

This opinion piece was featured on ABC Health & Wellbeing on 11 February 2023.

What if I told you I’d found a tablet that could make you sleep better, think clearer, concentrate longer, run faster, and help your immune system?

That doing one simple thing could bring such a…

Media Release  
07.02.2024

One week into the month-long national fundraiser febfast over 2,000 participants have signed up to take a break from alcohol, go sugar-free of give up another vice. In the midst of Australia’s cost-of-living crisis it’s never been a more important time to support charities experiencing the double pinch of…

Media Release  
31.01.2024

National fundraiser febfast has begun— where Aussies ditch booze, sugar or another vice to improve their health and raise funds for young people facing addiction.

To mark the beginning of febfast, CEO of VicHealth Dr Sandro Demaio is available to talk about the scientific health benefits…

Make a donation

Help fund best practice solutions that support young people experiencing serious disadvantage.