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Last month Ganbina hosted its 19th annual Ganbina Youth Achievement Awards. A record 251 people attended, making it the largest awards night ever. The awards is open to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and youth (Year 7- age 25) living in the Goulburn Valley and recognises achievement in education, training or employment.

The night opened with a Welcome to Country in traditional Yorta Yorta language by local Yorta Yorta Elder Djeta Merle Miller. The guests were then treated to a traditional dance by the Kalithaban Dancers, which included the amazingly talented didge player Wilfred Stewart, alongside lead dancer Tristen Miller and Kailem Harrison, who are both Ganbina program graduates. The lead dancers supported and guided current Ganbina participants Isaiah Bux-Bamblett, Ezekiel Diligolevu-Atkinson and Jayden Fowler.

For the 2023 awards, Ganbina received 57 applications and a total of 31 awards were given out. Each winner was presented with a certificate and a cash prize in recognition of their achievements. In addition to the awards for education, training and employment, one applicant is awarded the Adrian Appo OAM Youth of the Year Award for overall highest scoring youth.

The award was created in honour of Ganbina’s founding CEO Adrian Appo OAM and acknowledges Adrian’s legacy and his contributions to Ganbina.

This year’s Youth of the Year award went to Nerrissa Leitch. Nerrissa has successfully maintained full-time employment as a Koori Student Support Officer at GOTAFE Shepparton, while also completing a Certificate III in Education Support. Nerrissa is passionate about her role in supporting students through their education journey and hopes to help them access all opportunities. Nerrissa is a highly worthy recipient of the Youth of the Year award, congratulations Nerrissa!

This year’s awards night also celebrated the 17th cohort of Youth Leadership Program participants to graduate from the Youth Leadership Program. This year’s Ganbina Youth Leadership Program graduates were Lincoln Atkinson, Grace Jones, Connor Moore, Hariyett Peters and Lillie Walker. These young adults have developed exceptional leadership skills and are valuable role models to their community.

The most recent Youth Leadership Program graduates spoke at the awards night about how much they enjoyed the program and encouraged all eligible participants to apply and give it a go.

Congratulations to all of the Youth Achievement Award winners in 2023! Ganbina and community is very proud of you.




Year 7

Taneesha Atkinson, Yulkirri Bamblett, Casaidon Joachim and George-Marbi Nicholson

Year 8

Bradley Atkinson, David Campbell, Bridget Cooper and Shane Walker-Bartlett

Year 9

Logan Falla, Declan Jones, Rhianna Ward and Poppy Watson

Year 10

Mya Falla, Cody Fairless, Charlie Payne and Gretel Peters

Year 11

Shanikwa Allen-Jones, Lincoln Atkinson, Milana Best and Ella Morgan

Year 12

Hariyett Peters and Kady-Anne Paton

TRAINING WINNERS (Cert IV or higher)

Kaitlyn Crowhurst, Shaelyn Crowhurst, Jet James and Mariah Tejones


April Atkinson, Jarrara Atkinson, Chrystal Chapman and Nerrissa Leitch


Nerrissa Leitch