48. Joely Mitchell and Annie Pendlebury

9 Jul

48. Joely and AnnieJoely Mitchell and Annie Pendlebury are two really inspiring young women.

They first met in high school and shared a common interest; writing. They became close in year nine and they started talking about how they could create a platform where they and other young people could meet and write together about issues for a younger audience. Both share a passion for writing. Annie has always been more interested in books and editing, whilst Joely had her mind set on hard news and journalism. Annie and Joely wanted to create a place for young people where they could write and advance their creative skills together. They knew there had to be other young people who felt the same way about writing and they started to think about creating a project to meet like minded young people.

Reflecting on where it all began, Joely remembers that “we were both really desperate to break into the industry and we knew how competitive it was but we struggled to find opportunities to get experience. So we decided to create our own. We wanted to create an outlet for young people to express themselves and gain writing experience, but also a platform for young people to turn to so they could read about issues related to them”.

Annie and Joely were inspired by Banyule 100 having written some features of their own for this website.  They decided that they wanted to create more opportunities for young writers and it was through their involvement that they got to know people at the Council including youth worker; Naomi Simmonds. She was extremely supportive of the idea of a blog created for and by young people and started working alongside them through the planning process. Within a few months of their initial meeting, they received notification that their blog would be funded by the State Government through the Engage! program.

After this, the hard work really began. There was a long process to get everything up and running. Annie and Joely started to look for other young people who were interested in writing and they decided on a name for the project and a logo. They engaged a journalist as a mentor and they also started to design the blog and create a Facebook page. The vision of Truth 4 Youth turned into reality.

Almost three years later, Truth 4 Youth is still up and running and it has become so much more then what Annie and Joely could ever have imagined. 100 articles, 800 Facebook followers and 35,000 visitors to the site count among their achievements. They’ve worked alongside a batch of young writers and photographers that are as passionate as they are. Truth 4 Youth have monthly meetings at the Banyule Council where they brainstorm, edit articles and talk about marketing strategies. There have been four hard copies editions of the magazines published, a regular monthly feature in the Ivanhoe and Valley Weekly Review and each year Truth 4 Youth attends Youth Fest to attract new readers and members.

One of their biggest achievements so far was when they won the Group Volunteer Award at the Banyule Volunteer Awards in 2014. “Being recognised for our contribution to the community was humbling and an honour” says Annie. “Joely and I stared at each other as we won the award, knowing neither of us could have expected such brilliant events to have unfolded when we first started dreaming.”

So, what is the secret behind the success?

Besides all the hard work put in by Annie and Joely along with everyone on the Truth 4 Youth team, they’ve created something that filled a gap. A forum for young people to express themselves and a place come to for an enjoyable read on matters that concerned them directly. The goal for Truth 4 Youth has always been to engage and entertain the community and at the same time voice their opinions.

Truth 4 Youth have just achieved another round of State Government funding which will take the project through until the end of 2017 at least. Both Annie and Joely are in their twenties now, attending Uni and writing for other publications, but they both plan to remain part of Truth 4 Youth as contributors and as mentors for young writers.

Truth 4 Youth always welcome new members, so if you like the sound of what Joely and Annie have created get in touch via the website.

Words: Linn Bengtsson and Lawrence Phelan

Photo: Sean Porter


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