Youth in Motion: helping young people change their own odds

As if the HSC weren’t already tough enough, it can become an even more daunting time for those living in hardship. UTS student Alice Zhang created ‘Youth in Motion’, a program that offers free tutoring to disadvantaged high school students who are struggling with homelessness, domestic abuse or mental illness.

“Many students who are dealing with tough circumstances fall through the cracks of the system because they don’t have any support, feel frustrated, hopeless and inept. They drop out or fail, and are unable to pursue a career and support themselves financially in the future,” says Zhang.

The Youth in Motion team consists of around 15 active volunteers who contribute through their work as tutors and mentors, but also oversee finances, business and engage with the community to recruit students and seek external support.

Having received much-needed help from existing program The Shack while battling homelessness and hardship in the past, Zhang was inspired to get involved and use their skills, experience and studies to start this project.

“I really wanted to do something about it. It was a bit challenging at first to get my head around funding and the legal requirements, but I think anyone can do good work if they are passionate about it,” Zhang says.

Banner image: cheque from Grilld Local Matters fundraising, held by Alice Zhang and colleagues, photo is courtesy of Alice Zhang.

Case study

The Problem

Youth homelessness continues to be an issue in Sydney, and high school students are more likely to drop out of school or struggle in class if they are dealing with difficult circumstances.

The Response

Motivated by her own experience with homelessness, UTS student Alice Zhang turned a tutoring idea into ’Youth in Motion’, a non-profit providing free tutoring to help young people pass their HSC and break the cycle of hardship.

What helped accomplish this?

The approach is simple but effective—tutors are matched with students who need help with school work and exam preparation, and support appeal cases related to HSC completion.

What has changed as a result?

Despite still being in its infancy, Youth in Motion participants have already benefited, going on to secure internships and entry-level roles in large companies.


Download full case study

Impact Area



UTS Faculty or Unit



person in white blouse, smiling at camera, Alice Zhang

Alice Zhang, Founder, Youth in Motion