On Thursday 17 September, Ladder staff and stakeholders came together to celebrate the graduation of ten young people from the Ladder Step Up Latrobe Valley program, joining 131 alumni who have completed the program since its inception in 2017.

Due to Victoria’s COVID-19 lockdown, the program was delivered through a combination of face-to-face and online development sessions. While this proved challenging at the start, Ladder Development Coaches preserved building positive and trusting relationships with each of the young people.

Over the weeks, the young people’s confidence grew. They came out of their shells and their engagement with the program was consistently strong. All the young people have shown great commitment to the program, Ladder staff and themselves through the up’s and down’s this year has provided.

To celebrate graduation, a ceremony was held at The Vault Morwell with the graduates, Ladder Alumni, Ladder staff, Ladder mentors and program partners and stakeholder.

Three young people received additional awards in recognition of their achievement throughout the program.

Most Resilient – Simone who did not miss a single day of program in twelve weeks despite the adversity she faced. She is supportive and encouraging to her peers and Ladder Development Coaches. She has helped everyone grow in their journey with Ladder while going from strength to strength herself.

Most Improved – At the beginning Ben was quiet, reserved and reluctant to engage. Over the six weeks Ben continued to grow and challenge himself and participate in all activities - even when he was unsure, he gave things a go. Over the course of the program Ben’s confidence grew and he began taking on leaderships roles. It has been a joy for us to watch Ben come so far within the program.

Best on Ground – Cole is utter joy and sunshine. He approaches everything with enthusiasm and a positive attitude, giving everything a 100% and ensuring his peers always feel comfortable and ok. He has the ability to take things seriously when needed but also make everyone laugh when the circumstances need it.