Community Changemakers celebrate graduation

The 2023 Community Changemakers graduates. Picture: SUPPLIED

By Callum Ludwig

The 2023 Yarra Ranges Community Changemakers class celebrated their work with a graduation event recently, reflecting on a year’s worth of discussions and advocacy.

Yarra Ranges Council Mayor Sophie Todorov said the Community Changemakers is a program that they’re incredibly proud of at Council.

“It has been so wonderful to see the transformative journey of the 21 community members from this year’s graduating class,” she said.

“The graduation event itself was a vibrant mix of culture, recognition and reflection, and we also had graduates from previous years also share their personal leadership journeys within the community.”

The Community Changemakers program provides a platform for community-orientated residents to socialise, connect and share ideas with others in the Yarra Ranges, while also being able to put potential projects, upgrades or ideas for initiatives to the council.

Cr Todorov said the graduates have achieved so much during the program, which has focused on their personal growth, leadership qualities and how to make an impact in their local community.”

“Myself, Cr Skelton and Cr Fullagar attended the event and we extended our heartfelt recognition of the talents and achievements of the participants and welcomed them all to reach out to their local Ward councillor for support in future if needed,” she said.

“The projects that this year’s graduates are looking to undertake to make a difference are quite diverse, including exploring a BMX/skatepark in Montrose, safer pedestrian crossings in the Upper Yarra, volunteering projects, and championing environmental education and advocacy in the Dandenong Ranges,”

“The program will continue in 2024 and 2025, so we encourage any community members wishing to be part of the next round to keep an eye out for future communications from Council on how to apply.”

Participants in the Community Changemakers program this year were required to be available for 10 sessions taking place between late May and October, having access to a computer or tablet with an internet connection for online sessions and access to transport for in-person sessions.