Geraldine Blackwell

Founder, Youth Development Foundation

2024 QLD Australian of the Year Nominee

Geraldine (Gerry) Blackwell founded Youth Development Foundation (YDF) in 2014. She wanted to create an organisation for at-risk young people that helped address their underlying issues, and to fill the gaps in other services offered to these young people and their families.  

YDF takes an individual approach to each young person’s program. It offers holistic services that include mentoring, education, skills development and vocational training.  

YDF also aims to help participants develop the self-worth and confidence to improve their lives – and provides a safe and non-judgemental environment.  

More than 100 employers and community partnerships are involved to help place participants into work or education. 

Under Gerry’s leadership, YDF has helped more than 8000 young Queenslanders. It has placed almost 3000 participants into work and helped 500 return to school or take on further study.  

It has a remarkable 96 per cent engagement rate, with 98 per cent of participants going on to improve their circumstances.