A few nights before the World Federation Deaf Conference, an advisory group consisting of deaf youths had an informal meeting.
Christian Hill, Jessie Cooper-Maggs, Shirley Liu, Robert Burrows, Jordanna Smith, Vanessa Ravlich and Amanda Faqirzada, as well the Deaf Australia Board Directors – Todd Wright and I attended. We discussed what the Deaf Youth needed, and how to go about setting up a youth group. An EOI (Expression of Interest) in Auslan was distributed, and we received twelve EOl’s. Voting was opened up to those who were 13 – 30 years old, deaf, and have lived in Australia for more than a year. The group below was voted in – Deaf Australia would like to say thank you to all who participated.
This group’s primary focus will be on promoting, liaising and fundraising for future WFDYs camps, the next one will be in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2015 for people aged 18-30 years old. This group also has a few ideas for possible projects that will be decided on at their first group meeting, which will be held at the same time as the Deaf Australia Board meeting. On behalf of Deaf Australia, I would like to wish them luck and to ask that you all, the deaf community support this group in whatever ways you can!
Board Director – Ida Rogers
Below is a biography of each member of the group and the faces to the names for your interest:
My name is Shirley Liu. I am based in Sydney, NSW. I am currently studying my Bachelor of Design (Visual Communication) – specialising in graphic design and photography. I love creative things. I am actively involved in Deaf Sydney Youth events and have volunteered in general community events as well. I also went to the WFDYS Jnr Camp in Rome as a leader; this camp inspired me so much and motivated me in regards to the future of deaf Youth. I am dedicated to absorbing new learning opportunities. I am thrilled to be in the Deaf Australia Youth group. I look forward to working with my fellow members with the goal to achieve things together for the Deaf Community.
My name is Katrina Lancaster-Maggs and I’m based in Adelaide, SA. I am married and we have an 11 month old son who is deaf too with another on the way! I come from a deaf family and have been involved in the deaf community since birth. My background is in welfare and community development however I have been involved with deaf youth for over ten years through personal and professional endeavours, including being on various boards, my workplace and attendance at WFDYS camps both as a participant and as a leader. I am passionate about empowering deaf youth and creating leadership opportunities and hope to do this through my role on the Deaf Youth Australia group.
My name is Jordanna Smith; I am 28 years old based in Sydney, NSW. I moved here only 3 years ago from California, America where I was born and bred and then I fell in love with Australia and decided to stay! Even though it was a big change for me, but now I can communicate in both American Sign Language and Auslan! I get excited every time I learn a new Auslan slang! I hold a Bachelors of Science Degree in Psychology. I currently work at the Deaf Society of NSW as Coordinator for the Employment Service where I do a lot of advocacy for employment issues and helping deaf people get placed into their dream jobs! I am currently on the board for Deaf Australia NSW and only want the best for the Deaf Community here in Australia. I look forward to being on the Deaf Australia Youth board and supporting the youths achieve what is beyond their dreams!
My name is Vanessa Ravlich. I was born and raised in Perth where all the good beaches are, until 4 years ago I moved to busy & crazy Melbourne. I am a lovely partner, young mother and foodie lover. I am motivated & very passionate about our Deaf Youth. I always have wanted to ensure that Deaf Youth have access to anything that they aim for, to help them achieve their goals. Deaf Youth are the next generation of our community, we must encourage & inspire them to achieve goals in order to develop our community to better levels. I look forward working with our wicked group and making this happen!
My name is Joshua Levitzke-‐Gray, I am based in Sydney, NSW currently, I grew up in Perth, and moved to Melbourne. I am a father to my twins. I come from a deaf family; I have studied for my Teacher Assistant Certificate IV to pursue in my possible future career in deaf education. I have a passion for video games by playing competitive games, it is here that I meet other people and educate them about how it is okay to be deaf. I aim to study something in this area. I also have a big passion for deaf youth – I love meeting new faces and having a chat about everything and want to support the youths achieve their highest potential. I attended an international youth camp in Spain, and I want to see others do the same!
Hello, my name is Janelle Whalan and I am originally from Perth and lived in Queensland most of my life, currently in Melbourne now enjoying the city atmosphere! I also have two deaf sisters and hearing parents, my passion is always around the deaf community, not just only because I am deaf but it’s a home in my heart. I love being around people, it will be rare that I’m on my own reading a book on few occasions. I love playing sports especially netball but unfortunately my knees are getting older more quickly than I am! I have worked in Deaf organisations for the past 5 years and am currently working at Vicdeaf. My passion is being involved in something that can provide a better future for the community! If you have any questions, just shoot them at me and I am happy to help as much as I can. I am looking forward to be in Deaf Youth Australia working with a great team! Let’s bring the year in and keep your eyes on us!
My name is Christian Hill. Everyone calls me CJ. I am currently based in Sydney, NSW but I was born in Auckland, New Zealand. I moved to Australia when I was two years old. In 2012 I completed my HSC, which included Certificate II in IT. I am currently studying Certificate IV in Business and working full‐time as an Information Officer with the Deaf Society of NSW. I was born profoundly deaf. I have a deaf brother but the rest of my family is hearing. My brother and I are both involved in the deaf community since the time we first opened our eyes. As a result I am very passionate in advocating for deaf rights and for higher living standards for us. I am currently one of the deaf leaders for Deaf Youth Sydney. I also believe that there is so much potential in the youth deaf community and we can definitely achieve this potential to the fullest.