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change agents


​​​​Be a YMCA Change Agent

The YMCA Change Agent Program is an International Leadership Development Program to empower young people and grow the ability of the YMCA movement, with special emphasis on local associations to positively impact the life situation of young people in the world based on the YMCA Change Model of

The program is coordinated by the World YMCA, and will engage 300 young leaders in training opportunities (on line and face-to-face), projects and initiatives on local and global level and will provide a mentorship service for continuous support.​

Collectively Change Agents are a resource for action. They are champions for change and impact within the YMCA Change Model framework. All participants of the program are expected to implement at least one project during 2017-2018.

What Does a Change Agent do within the YMCA Change Model Framework?

• Engages with and uses Space as a convener, connecting point, place for belonging and building of character and self-esteem. Promotes and uses YMCA Spaces for young people to act, realise, and fulfil their potential.

• Takes part in Transformation as learners themselves and as promoters of learning and sharing. Learning involves sharing best practices and broadening the understanding of the untold story of young people – where young people have critical concerns about issues of health, employment, civic engagement, and the environment.

• Focuses on Impact and takes action to engage in local realities as programme leaders, advocates, and voice for improved access to opportunities and impact for youth empowerment.​

Who are the current YMCA Global Change Agents?

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Introducing the 2019 Cohort 4 - Australian Global Change Agents

Photo above: Australian Change Agents Cohort 4 (front L-R) Jessica Hanley, Tanya Mischler, Jessie Gaunt
(back L-R) Martin Johnson, Alana James, Natalie Woloszyn and Melanie Rahtz.

Jessica Hanley – Y NSW

Jessica began working for YMCA NSW in 2016 and represented YMCA Australia as a facilitator in Japan at the 4th Global Youth Conference in partnership with Osaka YMCA. Jessica has a thirst for knowledge completing a Bachelor of Social Science including Honours at Western Sydney University. She has also completed an intensive Spanish language course in Guatemala whilst living abroad with her sister. Jessica caught the travel bug as a teenager when she was lucky to spend a 3 week stint in Italy as part of a high school excursion.  Eager to return to the land of pasta and gelato, she finished high school and moved to Italy for a GAP year where she lived with a local host family and attended the local high school (Alfredo Morea Istituto Tecnico Commerciale Per Geometri E Per Il Turismo).

Her passion for adventure has seen her travel to over 20 countries. When she's not chasing new and unique experiences, you'll find her spending time with her family, volunteering and Latin dancing!

Jessie Gaunt – Y VIC

Jessie lives happily in the trendy bayside suburb of St-Kilda in Melbourne and is studying a Bachelor of Youth Work. She loves buying fresh produce from the local farmers market and exploring new places in the outdoors. 

Jessie is the Program Director of Youth Camps at YMCA Victoria, these programs strive to create a sense of community and inclusion for all young people. Jessie is infinitely proud to be part of youth camps because they achieve a huge sense of belonging for young people and leaders alike. Jessie loves that she gets to work alongside such passionate, authentic and inspiring volunteers.

Jessie believes the Y has really helped her grow as a person and motivated her to put her passion into action, particularly in creating safe spaces for young people from all demographics to thrive and express themselves. She is really excited to be part of the Global Change Agent Program and hopes to continue expanding her career in the direction of youth empowerment and advocacy.

Natalie Woloszyn – Y WA

Natalie started her exciting journey with the Y in WA in 2018. She has had Mickey (Disney) as a boss, loves travelling to new places and is passionate about having the voice of young people heard. Living in Western Australia, she loves the beach, exploring the outdoors and runs her own small candle making business on the side. With a degree in Marketing, Advertising and PR, Natalie is driven and thrives in a fast-paced marketing environment. 
Natalie is passionate about creating real change and connecting the YMCA to the needs of the community. She has had the opportunity to contribute to youth based programs including Youth Parliament and as well as National scale projects including the ‘Million Moments’ campaign.  Natalie also sits on the WhyNot Platform Editorial Committee where she provides invaluable insights in the communications and digital design space!

Alana James – Y NT

Alana is passionate about the power and potential of young people. She is the Youth Services Executive Manager at YMCA NT which brings together two interests – empowering young people and social change. She loves working and living in the Territory for its diversity, grittiness and the tropical weather!

Alana previously managed YMCA South Australia's Youth Empowerment programs and served on the Youth Affairs Council of South Australia (YACSA) board. Alana is a graduate of the Governor's Leadership Foundation program which greatly influenced how she approaches failure, problem solving and change management. She is passionate about communication, creating change and finding the beauty in everyday moments. She loves a big debate and even bigger ideas which is why she's excited to be part of the Global Change Agent program!

Melanie Rahtz – Y NSW

Mel is grateful to live a soul soothing lifestyle on the Northern Beaches by the sea. She jumped straight into the aquatics and leisure industry after she finished school and attended Business College along the way. Her YMCA journey began nearly 8 years ago and she is now the current Centre Manager for two facilities in the Lower North Shore of Sydney.

Driven by her passion for the ocean, she coaches open water swimming for a not for profit organization called Can Too which raises money for cancer research. She is a passionate traveller- jet setting around the world since she was 18 and knows there is so much more world to see! In her spare time you'll find her outdoors, swimming, road tripping, eating or being a mad Harry Potter fan! Mel wants to live in a world we can be proud of and that will meet the needs of future generations to come.

Martin Johnson – Y WA

Martin grew up in northern Queensland and later moved to Perth with his family. He trialled the offshore mining lifestyle in the oil & gas industry but struggled to connect with the true purpose of his work. He transitioned to the aged care space where he was able to witness colleagues and patients truly appreciate one another and truly connect to the value of his work.   

Martin began his working career as a locksmith which he believes allowed him to unlock his 'learning and development' potential - later becoming a Human Resources (Learning and Development) specialist at YMCA WA. The opportunity to join the Y was too hard to pass up – especially when he learned the organisation was centred around inspiring young people and dog-day Fridays was a tradition in the WA office!  Martin is passionate about the youth mental health space and is truly excited to see what the Australian Change Agent group can achieve!

Tanya Mischler – Y VIC

Driven by her passion for youth empowerment and leadership development, Tanya has been an active member of YMCA Victoria for 10 years. Her long term commitment with the Y has led to incredible opportunities including being a member of the Y Volunteer Development Taskforce as well as living and working abroad in Japan for 18 months with Osaka YMCA. As part of her Bachelor of Health Science, Tanya lived in England for a semester where she discovered that travelling was much more fun than studying! Whilst living abroad she uncovered her love for adventure and a passion for meeting new people from all walks of life!

Tanya is a natural leader and community minded - she loves volunteering on camps with young people and is a fierce lover of toasted cheese sandwiches! She is incredibly excited to expand her YMCA family internationally as a Change Agent and to be a part of the Global YMCA Movement.  


​​If you are interested in becoming a change agent, please contact our National office at admin@ymca.org.au.