A Brave Life earns Australia Day Award
Published 21 January 2021
A Warner mum who smashed the stigma of teen pregnancy back in the 90s and now helps other young mums give their kids the best start in life has been named Moreton Bay Regional Council’s 2021 Australia Day Volunteer of the Year.
At just 17-years-old Melissa Redsell found herself a single mum, but wasn’t prepared to accept the limitations society thrust on her.
She put herself through university while raising a child to become a Registered Nurse and today her charity ‘A Brave Life’ is a lifeline for young Moreton Bay mums, providing them with advice, support, and essential baby supplies to go home from hospital with.
Mayor Peter Flannery said it’s impossible to meet Melissa and not be inspired by her boundless, selfless energy.
“It is my honour to bestow this award upon someone who goes above and beyond to support local young mothers every year, but especially through the uncertainty and anxiety of giving birth in a COVID world,” he said.
“The social stigma and challenges young mums face every day have only been exacerbated during the pandemic, from social isolation to limited stock in grocery shops and stores.
“Thankfully Melissa more than stepped up to the challenge, whether she’s coordinating and delivering essentials to mums through her Baby Bundles, or delivering mentoring through her Live Life Brave program.
“Melissa’s service to some of the most vulnerable in our community is nothing less than outstanding.
“In fact, her work has turned heads across Australia, nominated as a finalist in the ‘Women Will Change the World’ category at the 2020 AusMumpreneur Awards presented by The Women’s Business School.”
Melissa said she just wants to give back and use her story to encourage other teen and young mums.
“I always say to the mums we work this that we’re your biggest cheerleader, here to cheer you along and help you pursue your dreams,” Melissa said.
“Seeing young mums achieve their goals is amazing, whether it’s finishing school, getting a part-time job or just being the amazing mothers they already are, it’s a privilege to walk alongside them.
“It’s such an honour to receive this award but our whole team is made up of volunteers, so this award is really for all of us.
Councillor Cath Tonks (Div 9) said Melissa is an inspirational role model for young mums across Moreton Bay.
“It’s an honour to pay tribute to the amazing volunteers in our community like Melissa,” said Cr Tonks.
“Melissa’s dedication to supporting young parents in any way she can is terrific, her kindness and service to our community is invaluable.”