FOOTSCRAY resident Celia is grateful for the opportunities that living in Australia presents. An Australia Day Youth Leadership Award recipient, Celia said that young Australians are at an exciting juncture where youth voices are heard and valued.
This National Youth Week, 24 year-old Celia is encouraging young people to be proactive in initiating community change. She also called for greater recognition of young people’s contributions to Australian society, especially those from refugee and migrant backgrounds.
“Young people either haven’t always been given the opportunity to speak up or have been misunderstood,” she said.
“Young people of refugee and migrant backgrounds in particular are often absent from mainstream media, but that’s slowly changing.”
A program that gave Celia a voice was the Centre for Multicultural Youth’s Shout Out program – an initiative that trains and nurtures young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds to share their experiences and views with the broader community. She said the program gave her and other participants the opportunity to present their stories and experiences to audiences that may not usually have the chance to hear them.
“Shout Out gave me the opportunity to be heard and the opportunity to be consulted on policies that affect young people,” Celia said.
“Through Shout Out I feel empowered and confident to step up and use my skills for leadership and advocacy.”
As a second generation Australian of Vietnamese heritage, Celia said her parents always encouraged her to give back to the community.
“My parents came to Australia with nothing and I grew up in difficult circumstances, but my parents always told me to give back where I could.
“I guess that instilled in me a passion to work in the community and use my skills to facilitate change.”
Celia holds a Masters in International Community Development and volunteers with a number of orgsanisations that run community development programs. She was also recognised on Australia Day for her contribution to Melbourne’s Vietnamese community.
Amplify your message this National Youth Week, by engagaing a Shout Out speaker to present at your event. For more information, please visit http://www.cmy.net.au/shoutout/