Joining the Western Bulldogs Leadership Project in 2017, followed by the newly created Social Enterprise Project in 2018, Stawell teenager Hayley Little gained the appropriate business skills and knowledge to successfully launch her first social enterprise – Positivitoys.

Born out of hope to encourage young people within the community to kickstart their careers, Hayley devised an idea to sell plush toys with a positive message attached, with the revenue raised to be put towards the development of hospitality courses at the Stawell Neighbourhood House.

“I wanted to do something to get young people in jobs, because in Stawell we have the highest youth unemployment rate, but also a very large amount of jobs available,” she said.

“Courses like First Aid, Food Handling and Responsible Service of Alcohol are all done through Stawell Neighbourhood House and sometimes those courses can cost between $150-$200.

“This means that a lot of young people whose parents are on welfare payments or a low income can’t afford to do that. “That’s why I’ve stepped in to sponsor them.”

Five young people were identified within the community to complete a Food Handling course sponsored by Positivitoys, with two of those students receiving employment following their completion of the accredited course.

With the hope to continuously build on her leadership skills gained throughout both the Leadership Project and Social Enterprise Project, Hayley aims to grow Positivitoys in the near future, while continuing to spread a positive message within the local community.

“There were definitely skills that I gained from the Leadership Project that have helped me,” she said.

“The things we learnt about interacting with children and others within the community really helped me in delivering my Positivitoys school holiday programs.

“Opportunities like this I would have never dreamed of doing before my involvement with the Club and Foundation, so I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity.”