2021 Australia Day ambassador: Jarrod Wheatley

2021 Australia Day ambassador, Jarrod Wheatley is looking forward to the opportunity to come to Glen Innes and be apart of the Australia Day celebrations.
2021 Australia Day ambassador, Jarrod Wheatley is looking forward to the opportunity to come to Glen Innes and be apart of the Australia Day celebrations.

With celebrations for Australia Day drawing closer the 2021 ambassador for Glen Innes has been announced.

Jarrod Wheatley, from the Blue mountains will serve as this year's ambassador.

The Australia Day Ambassador Program, encourages links between communities across the country.

Jarrod Wheatley was awarded NSW Young Australian of the Year in 2019, and is excited to have the opportunity to speak at Glen Innes this year.

"It is always an honour to be an ambassador and come to an area like Glen Innes and use the opportunity to reflect on what people have done in the local community," Mr Wheatley said.

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Mr Wheatley has worked in the social sector since the age of 17. During this time he has run a Youth Centre, set up programs for refugees and founded two innovative, not-for-profit organisations including, Street Art Murals Australia (SAMA) and Professional Individualised Care (PIC).

Each local government area is assigned its own ambassador, a prominent person from the sporting field or the science lab, government or the stage or screen. Their primary job is to deliver a speech about the meaning of Australia at events across the state.

After five years of hard work PIC is now an accredited new model of Out-of-Home Care. Before, children who were too traumatised or high-needs for a foster home would generally be placed in an institutionalised group home. Here they would be cared for by shift workers.

Instead PIC places one child in the home of a Professional Therapeutic Carer, who can provide a therapeutic intervention and real relationships. This is both improving the lives of young people and changing how trauma-informed our sector is.

Through SAMA Mr Wheatley used street art as vehicle for social inclusion and urban beatification, breaking the negative cycle of criminalisation and alienation by commissioning murals and workshops. Street artists have now painted more than 360 murals all over the country, for clients such as Pfizer and Lend Lease.

As founder of two innovative, not-for-profit organisations, Mr Wheatley is creating positive change in the community. Professional Individualised Care works to improve the well-being of children in care. Meanwhile, Street Art Murals Australia helps solve the graffiti problem, by connecting street artists with paying clients, to create commissioned murals.

"I am excited to take this chance to reflect on a year gone, not only the challenges but the good that's come out and reflect at our community spirit through those difficult times together,"Mr Wheatley said.