Steph looks to green up Mudgee cafes in Max Potential

Stephanie Phyllis and coach Alison Whittaker, pictured at b.Ash Cafe with some of the biodegradable items that form the basis of her community service project.
Stephanie Phyllis and coach Alison Whittaker, pictured at b.Ash Cafe with some of the biodegradable items that form the basis of her community service project.

Young adult Stephanie Phyllis is looking to a greener future stretching beyond her time in the 2018 Max Potential program.

Her community service project coincides with ‘Plastic Free July’, however she has a view to go beyond just the seventh month of the year.

“I’ve nicknamed it ‘Green Up Mudgee Cafes’ and what we’re doing is trying to replace non-biodegradable coffee cups and straws with biodegradable ones,” she said. “There were a lot of things that influenced me to do it, I read a book about greening up a chemist, plus I’m into helping the environment and I thought ‘hey, we can do this’. “And I have a friend who yells at me every time I buy a takeaway coffee,” she laughed.

The Max Potential program encourages participants to set goals and use the ‘MAXIMISER’ principles in aspects of life outside the program. For Steph those were Principles ‘X Out the Negatives’ and ‘Make Things Happen’.

“One of my goals is getting work experience for editing, which I have achieved at Mudgee Guardian, as well as just being more emotionally flexible,” she said. “I’ve done one exhibition at Artisan On Lewis and I will be creating artwork for the Mudgee Readers’ Festival.”

Her coach, Alison Whittaker, said that she has enjoyed helping the Mudgee High student channel her creativity into the program.

“Steph has some great ideas and we just toss up where she wants to go with them, then we work through our Max Potential and know where we’re going and she has a sense of achievement at the end,” she said. “It’s really great to see her achieve and grow, from when I met her to now.”

Steph added, “[Alison’s] very helpful, I definitely wouldn’t be able to do it without a community coach and it’s awesome having her with me. We get along great particularly because we’d never met beforehand”.

She said she would “definitely recommend” Max Potential, even with “a lot of paperwork” required.

“I thought it would be a good opportunity - it’s something I could do to benefit other people as well as myself. There was a bit of a debate about doing it but I thought that in the end it would be worth it,” she said. “It will be a great thing to put on a resume as well as give me so many things to take into Years 11 and 12 then work and university later on.”