On 26 January 2022, Devika Chaudhary and Haylee Bissett won the Young Citizen of the Year Awards at the Brimbank Australia Day Awards Ceremony. The awards recognised Devika and Haylee exceptional contribution and outstanding service to the local community.
Devika loves to volunteer and is involved in activities that benefit the community through a vast range of groups and projects. And she does this while also studying and working.
From 2015-2018 Devika served as an Australian Air Force cadet, and she has been teaching classes and mentoring young cadets to achieve their goals in aviation and leadership. She’s also a member of the ‘Women of Brimbank’ and has played an important role in helping local women.
Haylee is committed to advocating on issues affecting young people, and supporting communities that have traditionally been pushed to the margins. Haylee is committed to creating change for the better – through her school, and her community, and she is a source of inspiration for the people around her.
Meet the winners
We caught up with Devika and Haylee to see how they felt about receiving the award and what they’ve been up to since. Here’s what they had to say.
It was truly an honour to receive the Young Citizen of the Year Award and be recognised for all the hard work in the community. It was an exciting moment that felt very special.
Completing a leadership course at Brimbank Council, as well as contributing to safety programs for the youth and a Victoria University research project on education pathways has allowed me to meet many amazing people.
My hope is to be the voice for young people and continue working on projects that help people feel supported and represented in the community.
It was a total surprise being named a joint winner, and I think that made it ten times more exciting. I’m immensely proud of what I have been able to accomplish because of this award.
Since January, I’ve attended citizenship ceremonies, advised my school, Sunshine College, on mental health and support for students. I’ve also helped edit the Bold Source magazine focusing on self-care and healing and contributed to the ‘All the Best’ Australian podcast.
My long-term goal is to create and run a teacher development program at Sunshine College that educates staff about people living with disabilities and health conditions.
It’s important that we create a safe and creative environment for young people in Brimbank.
Visit Council’s website for more on all our Australia Day winners.