Health Sciences

Future in Youth Awarded for Outstanding Community Engagement

The Vice Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Community Engagement was awarded to Future in Youth, Timor Leste. Future in Youth (FIY) is an innovative community capacity building program that engages children and youth in Baucau through sport. Dr Ross Smith and Dr Paul Callery from the School of Exercise Science - Faculty of Health Sciences developed FIY at the invitation of the Institute for Advancing Community Engagement.

The key stakeholders in the program are: Australian Catholic University, School of Exercise Science and Faculty of Health Sciences; Catholic Parish, Baucau; Baucau Football Association; Timor Leste Football Association; Football Federation of Australia; Toll Holdings, Timor Leste; Catholic Education Office, Melbourne; and Nylec Products, Melbourne.

Dr Callery is to be applauded on his commitment and leadership of the Future in Youth program. ACU students, or Team ACU as they are known, are the backbone of the program and excel under Dr Callery's leadership. The students experience significant personal and professional transformation. The School of Exercise Science and Faculty of Health Sciences are to be commended for embedding FIY in the University's teaching, learning and research. The Faculty, School and the FIY partners have achieved sustained support and strategic development of FIY, which has become an internationally recognised ACU community engagement program. FIY outcomes have included capacity building, personal and community health and wellbeing, equity and personal leadership and communication skills. A significant impact has been the increase in social connectedness for participants.

In 2012, FIY explored the potential to expand beyond Baucau into two other towns in Timor Leste. The program is also being considered for potential implementation in Australia and other countries.

Further background on these awards and information on previous recipients of the Outstanding Community Engagement Awards can be found at: www.acu.edu.au/53578