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WA Young Person of the Year 2019 – Brenda Joseph (Amito)


By Eric Martin

Catholic Education Western Australia (CEWA) and Irene McCormack Catholic College have congratulated Year 11 student Brenda Joseph (Amito) for her outstanding achievement of being recognised as the 2019 WA Young Person of the Year for her work training multicultural AFL Football umpires.

Peter Tinley, WA Youth Minister, presented the award to Brenda at the WA Youth Awards Ceremony at the State Theatre Centre on Friday 25 October.

“We know that young people don’t often get recognised for the contributions that they make to the community, and our community often falls back into the stereotype that young people are disengaged and disinterested,” Mr Tinley explained.

“This event, and the young people here that are recognised at it, prove that stereotype to be very, very wrong.”

“Congratulations Brenda on your outstanding achievements,” Mr Tinley added.

“You have empowered a generation of multicultural youth to take control of their futures and feel part of a multicultural Australia.”

The WA Youth Awards were established in 1999 to recognise young Western Australians aged 12 to 25 years for their achievements and contributions to the WA community, with nine categories of award available for nomination:

  • The Minister for Youth’s Most Outstanding Youth Worker Award - recognises a WA youth worker that has made an outstanding contribution to their local community by doing paid or voluntary work in the youth service sector. This award is open to people of any age.
  • The Hope Community Services Positive Achievement Award - recognises an individual who, having overcome difficulties (such as issues related to family, culture, geographic location, health or disability), has made an important contribution to society and is an inspirational role model to others.
  • The Mission Australia Cultural Endeavours Award - recognises young people who have overcome disadvantage and/or made a significant contribution to the community through a cultural endeavour, including drama, visual arts, digital and/or technology, dance, debating, literary pursuits or music.
  • The YMCA Organisational Achievement Award – recognises an organisation that has made an outstanding contribution to the community and inspired others to participate actively in community life.
  • The Life Without Barriers Organisational Achievement Award – recognises a youth-led group or organisation that has made an outstanding contribution to the community and inspired others to participate actively in community life.
  • The ECU Community Leadership Award - recognises an individual with outstanding leadership qualities who has taken action to empower and educate others. They will be high achievers in their chosen field of education, business, government, sport, environment or community, and made a noteworthy contribution to our community.
  • The Commissioner for Children and Young People Participate Award - recognises a young person between the ages of 12 and 17 who has shown outstanding dedication to making a positive change in their community and who has inspired other young people to participate.
  • The Youth Futures Innovation for a Sustainable Future Award - recognises young people contributing to the community through innovation and sustainability.
  • The Charmaine Dragun Memorial Award - Recognises an outstanding journalist, photographer or media contributor under the age of 25 who has committed to fair and balanced reporting on young people or youth issues.

All category winners under the age of 25 years were automatically in the running for the 2019 WA Youth Award.


Brenda Joseph (Amito), an Irene McCormack Catholic College pupil, has been recognised as the 2019 WA Young Person of the Year. Photo: Supplied.

Brenda won The Commissioner for Children & Young People Participate Award, receiving a $1000 cash prize, following nomination by Mr Daniel Sherifi, Youth Programs Coordinator at the Edmund Rice Centre WA.

Brenda has received a pair of around-the-world plane tickets, in addition to a $10,000 travel bursary to support travel around regional Western Australia, to participate in youth related events and activities as WA’s Youth Ambassador, courtesy of the Youth Affairs Council of WA and Lotterywest.

Brenda migrated to WA from Uganda in 2007 and founded the Edmund Rice Centre WA (ERCWA) Multicultural AFL Umpiring Academy in 2017, at age 14 years, and was instrumental in developing the academy including arranging and running development camps and training sessions, as well as keeping busy during the AFL season by umpiring games.

On development camps, Brenda took full charge of the administrative duties including organising course material, conducting assessments and overseeing the volunteers – as well as organising and monitoring the learning requirements of the umpires during the training sessions and providing on the ground mentoring during umpiring events.

The academy has developed more than 60 umpires from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, securing opportunities to umpire at Little League and Auskick games at Optus Stadium, Public Schools' Association games and amateurs' football games with the WA Football Commission.

This year marks the 21st year of the WA Youth Awards that have provided a platform to recognise our most amazing, inspirational and dedicated young people. These are young people committed to their community, helping others and thinking outside of the box.