Klea benefits from the Rotary Youth Leadership Award

Klea benefits from the Rotary Youth Leadership Award
Keith Ryall

Klea Atallah is the youngest member of the Atallah family who migrated from Lebanon in 1992 after the Civil War had ended.

After completing her secondary schooling in Glen Iris at Sacre Coeur, Klea moved onto the University of Melbourne where she is at the tail end of her honours year which will finalise her Bachelor of Biomedicine degree. While her research takes up most of her time during the week, Klea has a passion for volunteering and is currently a mentor manager at CHASE (Community Advancement and Student Engagement).

CHASE aims to improve the health literacy of Year 11 VCAL students from disadvantaged backgrounds and empower them to make a difference in their community using the health information that mentors provide to them.

Klea applied for the Rotary Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) online program at the end of 2020 because she thought it would be a great opportunity to develop her leadership skills, push herself out of her comfort zone and interact with like-minded individuals. Having spent most of 2020 working fromaa home with a lack of opportunity to meet new people or have experiences that fostered personal growth, she felt as though participating in the RYLA program would be a great and refreshing way to start off 2021.

At that time, Klea had just completed her Bachelor’s degree in biomedicine and decided to do an honours year to experience the world of research. RYLA took place just before she started her research so she thought the interpersonal and leadership skills developed through the program would be extremely useful in the dynamic environment of clinical research.

However, the pandemic did not go away and so virtual meetings were necessary. The nature of Zoom meetings can make it difficult to have meaningful conversations with new people; however, the RYLA coordinators did an amazing job at fostering an inclusive and fun atmosphere.

Each week was focused on a different topic relating to personal growth such as values, grit and leadership. Klea mentioned that she was able to have open discussions with the other RYLA participants and heard from incredible guest speakers who had fascinating insights on their topics. It was also inspiring to hear from past “RYLArians” and the ways in which they believed their RYLA experience helped them realise their passions and achieve their goals.

Klea’s thesis during her Honours year is on the impact of Maternal Type One diabetes during pregnancy and the way the disease has been managed can influence pregnancy outcomes. She is passionate about improving health outcomes of others in the community and believes this can be done through increasing health literacy from a young age and improving public health policies.

RYLA is normally a week-long residential program conducted in December for 18- to 25-year-olds and is aimed at encouraging and developing leadership, personal development and social skills, so that awardees can more effectively contribute to their communities in a practical manner. Enquiries may be directed to Carlton Rotary’s Youth Services chair Peter Crouch on [email protected] or Keith Ryall at [email protected]

Like us on Facebook