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Jeni Hayes - Westfield Local Heroes 2020

Privileged to help

Mission Australia – Northern Sydney West Youth Homelessness Service
Dedicated. Inspirational. Humble.

Jeni Hayes feels honoured by the opportunity to have devoted 30 years of her life to community services.

“Journeying with people of any age as they overcome barriers and achieve their goals is a privileged space to sit in,” Jeni says.

She is primarily inspired by her work at Mission Australia, where she has been supporting young people at risk of homelessness for more than 10 years. “It is filled with opportunities and unique challenges”.

Jeni is known for her genuine warmth and ability to create a space of safety and security for vulnerable young people.

“Our team feel privileged to have assisted many young people to overcome the impact of family breakdown, family violence, school disengagement, unemployment, mental illness, drug and alcohol use, homelessness and recidivism.”

The team focus on building strong collaborative relationships and networks across the community services sector to assist young people access the support they need.

For eight years, Jeni has helped to organise Mental Health Youth Forums as part of the Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Youth Network.

Another initiative is a weekly outreach at the Hornsby mall every Tuesday.

“We build rapport with the young people at risk who frequent this area, provide them with meal vouchers, and offer information about support,” Jeni says.

Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation. Mission Australia will buy food and travel vouchers and pay for additional staffing hours.

For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here

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