About Our Founder

Melissa Abu-Gazaleh,

Founder and Managing Director

Melissa Abu-Gazaleh, crowned the 2017 EY Social Entrepreneur of the Year and 2016 NSW Young Australian of the Year, is a trailblazer in reshaping young male mental health in Australia. At 19, she noticed so many young men around her masking their pain and mental health issues through drugs, alcohol, risk-taking and self-harm. Alarmed by the high rates of youth crime, alcohol-related violence, and suicide among young men, Melissa saw an urgent need to enhance their social and emotional wellbeing.

In 2006, Melissa founded the Top Blokes Foundation, a charity dedicated to transforming the lives of boys and young men through innovative, evidence-based peer mentoring and social education programs. Since then, the team’s work has significantly boosted the mental health and wellbeing of over 20,000 young males.

The best way to predict the future is to create it

– Melissa Abu-Gazaleh

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Proud to be recognised as

EY Social Entrepreneur of the Year – 2017

NSW Young Australian of the Year from the National Australia Day Council – 2016

IMB Bank’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year (Illawarra) – 2015

Volunteer of the Year (Illawarra) – 2014


As a sought-after speaker, Melissa has shared her insights and inspired change at leadership, business, men’s health and youth conferences and events. Her dynamic and inspiring talks have mobilised countless Australians to join in nurturing a new generation of ‘Top Blokes,’ committed to positive change and community leadership.

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A history of Top Blokes

Melissa Abu-Gazaleh established the Top Blokes Awards, recognising young males who volunteered and inspired others to reach their full potential in the Illawara community.


Melissa founded Top Blokes Foundation.


The first Top Blokes young male mentoring program was launched, focusing on boys and young men aged 14-17 years old.


The second mentoring program was launched, focusing on 16-24 year old young men.


Top Blokes expanded to Lake Macquarie, Western Sydney and the Central Coast of NSW.


The third young male mentoring program launched, focusing on boys aged 10-13 years old.


Top Blokes expanded to Queensland.


The Graduate Club was launched for all Top Blokes mentoring program alumni, reaching 15,000 boys and young men. Plus, Top Blokes Foundation was recognised as Australian Charity of the Year.


Celebrated mentoring 20,000 boys and young men.


Latest news and updates

Unlocking potential: Daniel’s journey with Top Blokes

In this open chat, Daniel – Top Blokes grad shares the impact of the Top Blokes helping him gain confidence, open up about his past experiences and how the program has become a catalyst to share his emotions, fostering mental health awareness.

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Logan’s Legacy

In memory of Logan Steinweide who tragically took his own life, “Pandemonium Music Festival” is teaming up with Top Blokes Foundation to help young males’ mental health and wellbeing.

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