Program Director, Victoria
Neela has spent over six years working in pursuit of positive social change, across fields as diverse as communications, education, aid and development and public health. She cut her teeth at Oaktree, Australia’s largest youth-led organisation, where she ultimately served as Head of Communications. Here, Neela played a pivotal role in major national campaigns, including Make Poverty History and Live Below the Line.
Neela is an alumni of the Teach for Australia program, and holds Master of Teaching from Deakin University. She has taught English, Literature, Humanities and Business Management in both regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne.
Neela’s early passion for social justice stemmed from yearly trips to India, and her own family’s experience of being locked out of the education system. She believes deeply that education is key to a life of agency and empowerment, and that all young people have an infinite capacity create change for the greater good.
I am passionate about High Resolves because…
I am convinced that by investing in young people now, we will see our global society transform. Led by a new generation of citizens, we can build the kind of world we all desperately need – one that is more just, free and compassionate.
Program Manager, Victoria
Having worked in developing rural communities in South America and South Africa, Tom has developed a passion for global and social issues. He has worked with children of all ages from kindergarten through to grade 12, both in Victoria and abroad. He also implemented physical education and social programs in the Cayman Islands where he taught at a private special education needs school. Tom is an enthusiastic educator and passionate about motivating and inspiring youth to be positive and morally responsible global citizens. Tom holds a Bachelor of Psychological Science and a Diploma in Education from La Trobe University.
I am passionate about High Resolves because…
I am so inspired by the passion and resolve of young people to make positive social change, and love being a part of them growing and sharing their ideas!
CEO, Australian Region
With over 15 years of experience in design, strategy, corporate finance and transformation, Donna is a business leader who loves helping people solve complex problems. As CEO of High Resolves Australia, Donna is focused on growing the program to reach more than 50% of Australian teenagers over the next five years.
I am passionate about High Resolves because…
We are changing the world, one young person at a time. By equipping a critical mass of young people with the skills required to solve complex problems and act in the long-term collective interest of humanity, I believe we can make a difference.
Executive Assistant to the CEO, Australia
With extensive teaching experience across primary, secondary and tertiary levels of education in Victoria, Australia, and Missouri, USA, Cindy achieved a Masters degree in Education from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Cindy is passionate about the transformative power of the performing arts and education. A classically trained musician and educator, Cindy is committed to improving access, participation and inclusion for students, with an emphasis on supporting children and young people with special needs. Cindy held leadership roles in Victorian Catholic and independent schools and transitioned from the classroom to industry roles at Federation Square, Melbourne Recital Centre and Arts Centre Melbourne. Cindy commenced her teaching career in Victorian government schools and recently returned to the Department of Education and Training (DET) to work in the delivery of teacher professional learning. Cindy also participated by invitation in the DET Music Education Expert Reference Group in response to the Parliamentary Inquiry into the extent, benefits and potential of music education in Victorian schools.
I am passionate about High Resolves because …
As a first generation Asian-Australian and having experienced many degrees of racism, I’m motivated to see increased tolerance, compassion, empathy and genuine respect for cultural diversity in our society. Citizenship education is a powerful tool to empower young people to drive effective social change.
After four years of steady growth in New
South Wales, High Resolves launched in
Melbourne in 2009.
To date, we have empowered more than 58,000 young Victorians to act as purposeful global citizens, and to lead their communities, and the world, to a brighter future. High Resolves currently partners with over 40 government, independent, and Catholic schools across metropolitan Melbourne, and we are about to embark on a new journey into regional and rural Victoria.
High Resolve’s national Videos for Change challenge is a powerful opportunity for your students to create and be heard while leading social change. Students from Years 7-12 are challenged to submit a one-minute video on a social issue they feel passionate about, with the chance to be featured on Network TEN’s The Project and win a share of prizes worth over $12,000!
Entries officially open in July but we will be announcing some exciting additions and prizes for this year’s competition, so be sure to register and be the first to hear the news.
For more information and to register your interest, please click below.CLICK HERE
Dandenong High School has been an important High Resolves partner for four years. We began working with Year 9 students back in 2015, and that initial program was so successful that we expanded into Year 8. For the past three years, we have consistently received funding from the Department of Premier and Cabinet for programs to empower Dandenong High School students to promote social cohesion, both offline and online. We have also worked with teachers at the school to help them better understand how to positively influence mindsets and attitudes of teenagers. Dandenong High School has reported that the High Resolves program has been invaluable. One student stated, “We feel more comfortable about helping others online because we are better educated about it now. We know what to do if something wrong is happening to us or other people. We also feel more confident in making the online world a better place.”
Dandenong High School is very proud of the partnership that we have established with High Resolves. This partnership has seen our Year 9 students participate in the Global Leaders Program during the last three years. The success of this experience for our students encouraged us to become willing partners with High Resolves and to apply for a Community Resilience Grant from the Department of Premier and Cabinet in order to design and deliver face-to-face workshops to our Year 8 students around building resilience towards extremist narratives, and to empower young people to insist that online and offline environments are safe, democratic, and promote social cohesion. Our Year 8 students have found the learning delivered by this pro-social model invaluable. They have reported that they feel more confident and much more able to contribute positively and to maintain safe online spaces.
Program delivery included two workshops: Digital Citizenship and Independent Thinking. The quality of the materials delivered to our students was engaging and vastly relevant to their world and the way that they communicate with others, both in digital and real spaces. A member of our Leadership Team also attended a professional learning opportunity where she was trained to deliver the program to other staff and students at our school. Dandenong High School also received all of the resources required for successful program delivery. Our staff member reports that the program resources are engaging, relevant, and tailored to encourage people to think deeply about how they want the world they live in to be. Further, we intend to implement the program more widely within the school from 2018.
A common practice at Dandenong High School is to evaluate programs and seek student feedback. We ran a focus group regarding the High Resolves workshops and included a random sample of participants. Students were asked to comment broadly on the following areas:
(i) The purpose of the workshops
(ii) The relevance of the workshop materials to the students
(iii) Whether they feel more empowered to implement pro-social strategies in their online and offline spaces
(iv) Whether they feel confident and able to promote social cohesion practices
In summary, our student responses were as follows:
(i) ‘The purpose of the workshops was to teach us about the importance of working together and to speak about important issues using social media, and to be safe while doing so. The workshops were also meant to give insight to us digital natives about current social issues affecting people around the globe. The aim of the Digital Citizenship workshop was also to show us that we should accept all people, no matter their religion, sexuality, or race.’
(ii) ‘Social cohesion means that we work together to make environments safe for us to freely speak about issues. It means to make us feel more connected to others globally, in a safe way.’
(iii) ‘Jon gave us so many examples and tips about being safe online. He helped us to understand it better. Jon made us aware of the kinds of things that go on in the online community, and how we can protect ourselves and others.’
(iv) ‘We feel more comfortable about helping others online because we are better educated about it now. We know what to do if something wrong is happening to us or other people. We also feel more confident in making the online world a better place. We also feel that we can tell perpetrators that it’s not okay to bully and lie and scare and groom kids online.’
– Vicky Argyropoulos
Assistant Principal – Dandenong High School
Community and Strategic Partnerships
– AEU News Issue 2 2018