NYW blog #6 - Giving credit where credit's due
[listen to Laura's interview on 94.3 Star FM's All Star Breakfast show]
Sometimes as young people we get a bad rap. We're portrayed as lazy, apathetic and disengaged from politics and social issues.
I've done quite a few radio interviews to promote National Youth Week, and while they've been really positive, that question of youth engagement (or lack thereof), keeps popping up (check out my interview with Star FM above).
The thing is, a lot of us are so engaged with social issues that we've committed our lives to improving our communities and making a positive impact. So it's time to give credit where credit's due and recognise some inspiring young Victorians.
Roy Hammond Thomas
I met Roy on Tuesday night (5 April 2011) at the Macpherson Smith Rural Foundation's awards night at Parliament House. Roy is one of three recipients of the Foundation's prestigious scholarships which recognise an outstanding contribution to rural communities.
Roy, at 18 years of age, has received numerous academic awards, is the Baw Baw Shire Youth Mayor and the President and Co-Founder of YouthReach Inc. In Roy's own words:
"YouthReach is the only youth charity within regional Victoria where young people have an active part in every aspect of the organisation - from promotions and fundraising right through to taking on leadership roles that make a real difference to the way that the organisation will move towards the future."
"As a youth charity, we're dedicated to supporting students in the Gippsland Region through the provision of scholarships, material aid, access to mentoring (due to begin soon) and the provision of aid so that students can participate in every facet that schooling has to offer."
"YouthReach is all about making sure that students can make the most of their education and realise their goals and aspirations without worrying about the extra burdens that come with study."
In 2011 Roy hopes to support over 200 students from primary and secondary schools across Gippsland by raising $50,000. This will enable YouthReach to provide students with scholarships and provide material support to assist students and their families with meeting the costs of going to school each year.
If you're interested in finding out more about YouthReach or making a donation, I encourage you to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I was lucky enough to hear Zoe speak on Wednesday night (6 April 2011) at Bayside Youth Services' Own It awards where she received the Own It for the Community award. Zoe spoke about her passion for health and health education, and encouraged other young people to find their passion and own it.
Zoe is 22 years of age and is the youngest member of Family Planning Victoria's Board of Directors. She has organised camps for young people with cancer, volunteered for several organisations and travelled overseas. She told me that the best thing about volunteering is seeing your ideas brought to life. Zoe is currently studying Medicine and completing a Masters in Public Health.
Manningham Youth Social Action (MYSA)
MYSA invited me to attend one of their meetings a couple of weeks ago. The MYSA group consists of young people between the ages of 17-25 years who live, work or play in Manningham, in the Yarra Ranges.
MYSA focus on youth health and social issues within both local and broader communities. Their goal is to advocate on behalf of their peers while raising awareness of topical social issues currently affecting young people.
MYSA also dedicated their time to help organise the Victorian closing event for National Youth Week - the Epic Youth Festival on Saturday 9 April at Warrandyte Skate Park. The Festival included skate and BMX competitions, hip hop battles, street ball, market stalls, food and drinks. Headlining is House v Hurricane, supported by Acrasia, 360 and Meet me in Cognito.
Vision and commitment
What strikes me most about these young people is that they each have a vision for the future, and a commitment to making that vision reality.
They're also the young people who you go to school or university with, who you see walking down the street or working in your local shopping centre. They're young people just like you and me, and I hope that they inspire you to create your own vision for the future.
It doesn't matter whether your vision is for yourself, for your community or for the whole world. What is important is that it is yours and you own it.
If you know an inspiring young leader or you'd like to share your own story, add me on Facebook. I'd love to hear about your vision.
For more about National Youth Week, check out www.youthcentral.vic.gov.au/nyw. Thanks to the All Star Breakfast Show 94.3 Star FM Gippsland for permission to reproduce the above interview.
Articles Written by Laura J
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