Volunteers & Partnership Dinner: celebrating our community
Eastern Community Legal Centre welcomed 140 volunteers, partners and special guests to the 11th Annual Volunteers and Partnership Dinner, held 18 May 2017 at Green Acres Golf Club in Kew.
In the past year, ECLC’s 100+ volunteers assisted more than 1000 people across Melbourne’s east. ECLC’s CEO Michael Smith thanked the volunteers for this phenomenal contribution and ongoing dedication to supporting the community.
Legal ‘all-rounder’ Rhonda Goodall received the ECLC Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of 21 years of dedicated volunteering.
Mr Smith also expressed immense gratitude to ECLC’s many partners, collaborators, clients and other members of the community for their ongoing support, resilience and collective advocacy, particularly through a recent period of funding uncertainty.
The evening was also an opportunity to peer ‘behind the headlines’ and the negative media coverage on ‘youth justice’, to the positive opportunities that exist to support and engage young people in the legal and justice systems.
Principal Commissioner for Children and Young People Liana Buchanan and Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY) CEO Carmel Guerra shared their expertise and firsthand experiences of keeping young people safely and actively engaged in the community.
Anyaak Abiel, a youth worker and speaker from CMY’s Shout Out Program, also gave sage advice for engaging young people and fostering them to reach their potential.
Ms Buchanan, Ms Guerra and Mr Abiel also participated in a Q&A, responding to questions about how lawyers can best engage people with complex lived experiences (answer: through respect, open-mindedness and reaching out), and the role of employment and education in minimising the risk of criminal behaviour among young people.