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Young Maroondah resident among winners of ABC’s Takeover Melbourne competition

Published on 21 December 2020
  • Children and young people
  • Community
  • Environment
Take over winner Natalie

Council congratulates Natalie of Croydon Hills as one of the 32 winners of the ABC’s inaugural Takeover Melbourne storytelling competition.

Maroondah is among 32 local councils to have recently partnered with the ABC to deliver the Takeover Melbourne storytelling competition for young people aged 12 to 18.

Thirty-two winners were selected, representing each of the Local Government areas of Greater Melbourne, to have their stories featured on the ABC.

From growing up with Tourette’s Syndrome and overcoming internalised racism, to rebuilding after the Black Saturday bushfires and finishing year 12 during COVID-19, the stories showcase the resilience and talent of the city’s young people.

Maroondah Mayor, Cr Kylie Spears, congratulated all the winners and said it was an honour for the municipality to be represented by Natalie.

“We are tremendously lucky to have young people such as Natalie enriching our community and spreading positive messages of hope and resilience,” Cr Spears said.

“Despite the many challenges faced by Melburnians this year, almost 300 young people stepped up to share their stories in the Takeover Melbourne competition, which is all about showcasing the voices of young Melburnians,” she said.

“I encourage everyone to listen to Natalie’s story, as I have, and be empowered to help make a difference.”

You can read and listen to Natalie’s story on the ABC website

Maroondah City Council Youth Services is proud to support initiatives such as Takeover Melbourne and is celebrating the stories of seven young people across Melbourne’s Eastern Region who have been selected as this year’s winners. Their stories can be found on the youth website

Natalie’s story

Natalie has used Takeover Melbourne as a platform to spread awareness about the plight of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia’s national treasure and the world’s largest reef system, which is facing unprecedented environmental damage caused by widespread coral bleaching.

“When I entered my story about the beautiful Great Barrier Reef and my experience with the environment, I didn’t expect to win. I didn’t expect a call from someone at the ABC congratulating me, nor did I expect to meet a bunch of the most wonderful and inspiring group of people I’ve ever met,” said Natalie.

“Takeover Melbourne gave me the chance to get my voice out there, and to be heard. I felt like I could truly embrace my passion and it was amazing to be able to tell everyone tuning in that it is possible to save Australia’s iridescent coral reefs. No one is too small to make a difference, and my small difference only got a whole lot bigger, thanks to my friends from the ABC and Takeover Melbourne,” she said.

Director of ABC Regional and Local, Judith Whelan, said the Takeover Melbourne competition was an important platform for young people living in Greater Melbourne to make a difference.

“Congratulations to all of the winners for proudly sharing your courageous and powerful stories. Stories like these have the ability to bring us together as a community.”

CEO of VicHealth, Dr Sandro Demaio, also congratulated the winners, saying: “After such a challenging year for Melburnians, it’s more important than ever that young people are heard in the conversation about the future of their city.”

Takeover Melbourne is made possible through partnership with Resilient Melbourne, VicHealth and the Centre for Multicultural Youth, as well as with the support of the 32 local councils of Greater Melbourne.

To see the full list of winners, go to the ABC website

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