RSPCA Victoria and Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic) are looking for young leaders to improve animal welfare and build resilience in bushfire impacted communities through the Young Activators Program.

YACVic’s Young Activators Program annually supports young people (aged 16-25) from rural and regional areas to develop or accelerate their advocacy work on an issue important to their community. This year’s program is sponsored by RSPCA Victoria who will support Activators to deliver animal welfare projects that help animals living in bushfire affected areas recover and help communities build resilience for the future.

The Young Activators Program runs for six months and will help participants build capacity within their community to plan, respond, withstand and recover from emergencies and disasters that directly and indirectly impact animals. Participants will be encouraged to explore animal welfare topics important to them and be provided with guidance, advice and mentorship on how to advocate for changes to be made.  

CEO of YACVic, Katherine Ellis says that the program will bring great benefits to young people in bushfire-affected communities, who, on top of dealing with one of the worst ever bushfire seasons, are now making major sacrifices in their lives to help address a generation-defining global pandemic.

“YACVic’s Young Activators Program empowers and resources young people to lead and create an impactful contribution to the development of their community,” said Ms Ellis.

“We are thrilled that, with RSPCA’s support, animal welfare will be championed as a way of bringing young people together with the wider community to build strength and resilience.

“These young leaders will activate meaningful change in their communities, and develop their skills across research, advocacy, project management and communication. After putting their lives on hold for the community, young people in bushfire affected communities deserve to be supported with mentoring, funding, and training to regain control over their lives and shape their own future.”

CEO of RSPCA Victoria, Dr Liz Walker, says that the program is a unique opportunity for young animal lovers to directly improve the welfare of animals living in their local area, and in turn support the wellbeing of the people living in their community too.

“Animal wellbeing and human wellbeing are inextricably linked – the research shows us that. Bushfires can devastate communities and it will take a long time to rebuild from the most recent bushfire season. Animals are a critical part of that healing process.” said Dr Walker.

“By collaborating with YACVic on the Youth Activators Program, we hope to empower young people full of bright ideas not only about how to protect our wildlife from disasters, but also about how to harness the positive influence animals have on humans by creating a community that welcomes and supports the presence of animals in our lives.

“I hope that some of these Activators will be future leaders in animal welfare in Victoria. This is an opportunity to kickstart their career in animal care and protection, whilst making a real impact in helping their community recover  from disaster.”

RSPCA Victoria’s support of YACVic’s Youth Activators Program is made possible by donations made to RSPCA Victoria’s Bushfire Appeal, 100% of funds from this appeal will be used to provide relief and care of animals, improve animal welfare, and prepare for future emergency response in bushfire affected communities.

Applications for the Young Activators Program are open until 11:59pm Tuesday, 30 June 2020. Join us on 16 June for the launch.

A Zoom Q&A session will be held on 24 June which will provide a program overview and how to apply.

For more information contact Derm Ryan on 0408 674 738 or at

Media Contact: For more information or an interview, contact YACVic Media and Communications Manager, Thomas Feng on or call 0431285275. 

For more information or an interview with an RSPCA Victoria spokesperson, please contact:

RSPCA Victoria Senior Media Advisor, Camilla Speirs
RSPCA Victoria Communications Officer, Brittany Kleinig

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