Latrobe Valley resident, Des'ree is a Youth Ambassador for 'In the Game' - a CMY and AFL Gippsland partnership project aimed to encourage diversity within local clubs’ player groups. The program aims to introduce young people to sport, while getting them more involved in the community. Des'ree is one of the talented young people who runs AFL skills sessions for other youth in the area. The sessions introduce different aspects of Australian life to young people – particularly those of refugee or migrant backgrounds - help them to meet new people and empower them to join local clubs to elongate the benefits of the physical and social activity.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I’m 16 years-old, born in Australia, but half Cook Islander, half Samoan. I go to school here in Gippsland and I either want to be a lawyer or police officer.
You’re a youth ambassador for a CMY sports program, why did you decide to take part?
I really enjoy sport; I used to play footy for two years. I decided to join the program because I wanted to show young people that football teams are more accepting of young people and more importantly, show the girls that they could play and it isn’t just for the boys.
What are the benefits of participating in sport?
It helps you stay fit and you make friends. Some of the young people who first got involved in the program were really shy, but I’ve seen them overcome that. They feel more included in the community, it helps them engage with other young people and you become more a more confident person.
Do you have a message for Australia this National Youth Week?
Community is a reflection of yourself. If more young people of different cultural backgrounds got involved in the community and were given the opportunity to do that, then the community would be a true reflection of us and how multicultural Victoria is. It’s time to make a change – it’s time to have young people’s voices heard. We are the community and the future of the community.