Youth project recognised in state health awards

Published on 01 November 2022


The Design-a-thon competition was a new youth development initiative led by Unley’s Living Young Reference Group - a volunteer group made up of young people aged 12 – 25 years. Local secondary schools were invited to participate in a challenge for their students to design projects which supported mental wellbeing for young people.

Council’s Community Development Project Officer - Youth - Laura De Bono said she was pleased that this project was recognised with a Certificate of Commendation ‘for outstanding contribution to public health in the local community.’

‘Responding to the needs of young people is now even more important than ever due to COVID impacts’ Laura said. ‘The Living Young Reference Group identified mental health support as a key social issue affecting young people. Our Council wants to ensure that today’s young people can have a say about their experience and it gets heard by their community.’

Four schools entered teams of seven students to compete at the Design-a-thon event in November last year at the Unley Town Hall. Each team heard from peak mental health industry bodies Head Space Australia and Growing with Gratitude. They were then presented with a challenge and given time to problem-solve and design a civic project before presenting their ideas to a judging panel. 

‘The aim of Design-a-thon was to host an event where young people were tasked with design thinking, critical exercises, and teamwork opportunities to solve a problem and find a solution’ Laura added.

‘The competition provided opportunity for future community leaders to ‘dream big’ and offer advice to Council which supports the City of Unley meeting the needs of young people when addressing issues like mental health. Providing ownership of ideas and an ability to give back to community gives young people a sense of pride, a feeling they are part of a solution to tackle a ‘real world’ issue such as young people's resilience and mental wellness.’ 

‘I was thrilled to accept the award on behalf of Council and the Living Young Reference Group. It's special because I believe it’s the first time a youth development program like this has been recognised in these awards. I’d like to thank and congratulate the schools and students that took part, and organisations Head Space and Growing with Gratitude.’ 

The photograph shows Laura accepting the award from SA Minister for Health Chris Picton and Chief Public Health Officer Professor Nicola Spurrier.