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Correspondence: Youth week in Australia – you can 'own' change
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Correspondence: Youth week in Australia – you can 'own' change

Australia’s National Youth Week, running from April 1 to 10, is an annual celebration of the achievements of young citizens. Laura John, one of the organisers, speaks to 23-year-old Rhiannon Wapling from Melbourne.

Laura has been actively involved in her community for many years and was recently selected by the state of Victoria to represent it as a Young Member on the national planning group for Youth Week.

Victoria, located in the south-east of Australia, is the second most populated state in the country.

Youth Week will involve over 80 organisations running a range of events for young people concluding with the Epic Youth Festival at the Warrandyte Skate Park on April 9.

Beyondblue, the national depression initiative, also supports Youth Week to raise awareness of depression.

Laura says she believes Youth Week is an opportunity to show the country what young people are passionate about and recognise those making a positive contribution to their community.

“It’s important to acknowledge that many young people are doing amazing things, from creating social change to achieving academic excellence and sporting success,” she says.

“National Youth Week is our chance to focus on these accomplishments by showing the community what young people are really about.”

Young Australians are concerned about the issues that will shape their lives yet are also dedicated to taking action to provide all people with a positive future, she says.

“I think that young people in Australia are concerned about the future we are creating for ourselves: as individuals and as a community.

“Young people are passionate about creating positive social change and taking action on some of the big social issues of our generation: climate change, extreme poverty, mental health and same-sex marriage. We’re also concerned about problems with drug and alcohol abuse and the prevalence of youth homelessness.

“As a collective, I think young people want to see an end to inequalities within our society and I believe that we are committed enough to help tackle these issues and make an impact in our communities,” Laura adds.

The theme for National Youth Week for 2011 is “Own It”, a message Laura hopes will inspire all young people to get involved in their local community.

“I would encourage young people to own the change they want to see in their communities and make it happen.

“Don’t be limited by money or resources or people telling you change isn’t possible – change is always possible, if you are committed and passionate enough to make it happen,” Laura says.

The 2011 National Youth Week Talent Competition has just been launched, with some fantastic prizes on offer for young Australians with a passion for music, writing, photography and graphic design.

For more information about Youth Week events and the competitions visit www.youthweek.com.

To keep up-to-date with what’s happening in Victoria, visit www.youthcentral.vic.gov.au where you can see Laura’s weekly blogs or check out her Facebook page by searching for Laura Young Member (Victoria).

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Note: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. All articles are published in a spirit of improving dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

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