Melissa Abu-Gazaleh

Young men's health advocate

NSWState RecipientYoung Australian of the Year2016

Tired of seeing young men painted as constant liabilities to the community, Melissa Abu-Gazaleh established the youth-led Top Blokes Foundation when she was just 19. As Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Melissa is helping Australia combat anti-social and risk-taking behaviours among young men and busting many negative stereotypes along the way. Reaching thousands of 14 to 24 year old males each year, the Top Blokes Foundation fosters young men's social inclusion, resilience and mental health, while empowering them to contribute to their community through volunteering. Melissa’s social education program the Junior Top Blokes Mentoring Program, for example, challenge boys to address issues like alcohol, drugs, mental health, anger, masculinity and pornography. What started off as a project within her local community has now provided Melissa with a national platform to improve and advocate for young men's health in Australia. Melissa is a seasoned public speaker, sits on boards and committees and manages a team of 14 people who are passionate about young men's health empowering them to be agents of change.