Vicki-Tree Stephens honoured as Port Hedland’s community citizen of the year for transformative youth work
Vicki-Tree Stephens, who recently received the Port Hedland community citizen of the year award for her tireless work with youth, said it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of her community.
“It was a surprise because everybody’s busy these days and somebody actually went out of their way to nominate me,” the Youth Involvement Council chief executive said.
In her YIC role, Ms Stephens oversees a team of 40 staff members dedicated to serving over 700 youths annually through various programs such as youth centres, homelessness initiatives and night patrols.
Under her leadership, the YIC organises community youth events including Hedland’s Got Talent and the Hedland Youth Awards, showcasing her commitment to fostering talent and recognising achievements.
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Ms Stephens said her father’s experience of childhood trauma is what motivates her to make the lives of local children better.
“My father was subjected to severe child abuse when he was young and so I have always been hugely interested in how our childhood experiences shape us and manifest throughout our lives,” she said.
“That experience has motivated me to be more compassionate and understanding that there are always reasons underlying the way someone behaves.
“I just feel like if I can play any little part in helping someone’s life become happier, better, easier, improved, then that’s great.”
Ms Stephens’ journey to her current role is marked by a rich tapestry of experiences, including grassroots work and leadership positions in education and social services, in Australia and her native New Zealand, before calling Hedland home for nearly two decades.
“Hedland is a pretty special place to have been able to keep me away from home for this long,” Ms Stephens said.
She also extended her gratitude to the young people of Hedland, highlighting their openness and honesty in sharing their stories.
“I want to thank the young people of Hedland,” she said.
“They’re often looked at as the problem and I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know hundreds of them over the years and they’ve been very open and honest with their stories which has taught me so much.”
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