Jay Mifsud (they/her) is the Youth Intake and Programs at Banyule Youth Services in Melbourne’s northern suburbs. After being supported earlier on in their teenage years by youth work to pursue the creative arts, Jay is now using creative arts and youth work to bridge gaps and break boundaries for more young people.

They are co-facilitator for the local FReeZA program Jets Studios, which supports young people to plan, design, run and perform creative arts and events in their local community for free in a supervised, alcohol-free, drug-free, safe space. get that support for free through councils like ours.”

“I make sure that every young person who wants to engage with our service, end up in the right programme to get the right support to meet their goals,” says Jay.

Jay has supported many young people throughout their young career so far, but the one that has made a deep impression on them is of a 13 year old’s transformation. Starting out anxious and shy when they first came to the Jets Studio, Jay has supported them to build up their confidence, make connections and embrace themselves. Recently they came along to an event, performed in front of others, approached new people and made some new friends.

“It was like I had met a completely different young person,” says Jay.

“Seeing this young person's development is just so fulfilling.”

Jay believes youth work can support young people’s mental health, even though the work isn’t done by mental health professionals, because youth workers are “another ear to listen.”

…you need to be prepared to sit in the dark and walk with them into the light.

–Jay Mifsud

Youth workers are great companions for the journey throughout life, because “there's things you might not want to discuss with your friends at school, your teachers, your parents and siblings. And youth workers are able to provide that support.”

Jay believes that Youth Work Matters, because young people matter, and they feel proud to be a youth worker, as they believe they’re “bridging gaps in [their] industry, and allowing young people to connect with youth services in a fresh and creative way.”

“I genuinely believe that youth work has led me to having the best job in the world” 

Jay shared their story as part of YACVic’s Youth Work Matters campaign. Find out more about the campaign here. 

You can also read more stories of how youth work supports young people here.