Anglican Family Care encourages youth voice

A new internship programme provides a pathway to being a director in the not-for-profit sector.

Annabelle Cullinane
Annabelle Cullinane
The board of the Anglican Family Care centre has appointed Annabelle Cullinane as its first intern director, working alongside the board for a two-year term.

She would not have voting rights but would gain insights and experience and could share her perspective with directors.

The idea was first developed by Anglican Family Care board member and former chairman Jim Hawker.

Many young people had a strong social conscience so it seemed both logical and beneficial to involve them in the decision-making process of community not-for-profit organisations, he said.

"Providing an opportunity for a young person to join an experienced board of trustees gives them a great insight into the role of governance and a forum for them to contribute their views to the strategic direction of an organisation providing social services in their community."

Board chairwoman Ruth Zeinert said last year the board " had a close look around the board table and it really stood out to us that we had all had a significant number of birthdays under our belts, shall we say".

They were aware of missing a younger person’s perspective which was important as many of their clients were young parents.

Miss Cullinane said many of the challenges for organisations like Anglican Family Care had "no quick fix".

"I think for me it is just understanding that you can’t fix something automatically."

But by having a programme like the internship for being a director it helped pave the way to good governance, she said.

The board hoped to share their internship programme with other social sector agencies. They were pleased that their internship model was transferable to help encourage youth representation.

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