Woodleigh School – Young Change Agents Social Enterprise program

During March, a small group of Year 10 students participated in the Young Change Agents' social entrepreneurship program. The purpose of the week was to help our youth see problems within our community as opportunities for positive change. Students embarked on a "hackathon-style" workshop to identify problems. Through a design thinking routine, students could ideate, validate, prototype and pitch an idea. Four social enterprises were created and pitched to a panel of external judges.

Additionally, students spent time immersed in the community supporting Social Enterprises and experiencing first-hand the positive impact being made. Thank you to Sages Cottages and Wallara, Homeground, Mornington Peninsula Youth Services 'The Corner', Eat Up Australia, Frankston Social Enterprise Hub and Peta Murphy for supporting the program.

Throughout the program, youth teams worked their way through several activities. These included:

  • Critical thinking
  • Creativity
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Pitching
  • Time management
  • Problem-solving
  • Storytelling
  • Decision making

Community Problems Identified

Students discussed what community meant to them and worked to identify problems and create a vision for the future they wanted to make. Community problems identified by youth included:

  • Homelessness in the community
  • Mental health problems in young people
  • Lack of representation and understanding of different cultures
  • Coastal erosion
  • Lack of community connection
  • Racism and discrimination
  • Pollution in waterways and oceans
  • Fast fashion
  • Insufficient public transport
  • Drug and alcohol addictions
  • Eating disorders

Student Social Enterprise Ideas

Both the judge's choice award and the student's choice award went to The Pod, a space where students can feel safe and comfortable and that also helps to teach them how to have healthy emotional output. Our sincere thanks to Mark Hopkinson, Amber Earles and Nigel Lawler for volunteering their time to listen to the students' ideas and provide invaluable feedback.

Some of the other student social enterprises, also worthy of celebration included:

  • The Soma Project: A program offered to schools that provides education and resources to teenagers struggling with eating disorders, body image issues, and body dysmorphia.
  • Beach Box: A vending machine that dispenses key beach equipment such as sunscreens, life jackets, and sports equipment. Users deposit an ID or a Credit Card and receive their card back upon returning their rented product.
  • Safe Use Association: A workshop program that focuses on providing education on drug and alcohol use and educating people on using drugs safely. They provide drug testing kits and medication that help reduce drug overdoses.
  • Into The Wardrobe: A social enterprise designed to help teenagers and people of financial difficulties or disadvantages access formal wear.

I want to congratulate the students on their contributions to the program.

"It felt good to get involved and give back",Hazel

"I can see how small actions can make a difference",Roisin

"It opened my mind and understanding of the council's role in our community",Mahaliyah

Also, a huge thanks to the team of Woodleigh staff who made the week such a valuable learning experience.

Gina Bolch
Director of Careers and Director of Community Partnerships