Youth Focus Meekatharra’s Ken Burkenhagen has been named Regional Youth Worker of the year at the 2022 Youth Work Awards.
Ken is the much-admired Aboriginal Community Engagement Officer at Youth Focus Meekatharra, holding the roles of youth mentor and men’s group facilitator.
Known as ‘Pop’ or ‘Uncle Junior’, Ken is passionate about a young person’s right to education and healthcare in a racism-free environment.
In 2022, Ken started a men’s group in Meekatharra, which until this year had very little on offer for the young men of the community. Ken established the men’s group around the principles of teaching respect, giving guidance, setting boundaries, and taking young men on country.
The young men who are part of Ken’s men’s group know that Ken is a trusted and safe support; someone they can visit to seek safety and guidance. In return, Ken treats the people in his group with dignity and respect, speaking their language and understanding their needs.
His cultural guidance, local knowledge and commitment to fighting for what’s right has transformed many young lives in Meeka.
He is a truly worthy recipient of this award.