What is your connection to Brimbank?

I have lived in Brimbank for over 18 years of my life. I have previously volunteered as a Brimbank Youth Ambassador and I am currently working on the Brimbank Youth Job Strategy to combat the high youth unemployment rates in the municipality. I am also the 2018 Brimbank Young Citizen of the Year.

What do you like best about the area?

I love the diversity and inner-strength of the area. Brimbank has a strong character that has shaped me into the person that I am.

What could make the area better?

I believe there are a number of disadvantages that young people in Brimbank face. If I could change one thing to make it better, it would be to be able to provide talented, but disadvantaged young people the opportunity to realise their potential.

Where is your favourite place to go for a feed in Brimbank?

Whenever I am in Sunshine, I get a banh-mi from one of the local stores for $5. No matter how full I am, I can always fit in a banh-mi

Why did you start working with Western Chances, and what is it about your role there you enjoy most?

I completed my Public Affairs Internship with Western Chances in 2016 and then became a volunteer afterwards. I love the organisation and the work they do to provide young people in Melbourne’s west the opportunity to pursue their education. Talent is spread evenly, but opportunity is not. I enjoyed being able to see the transformative impact that receiving a scholarship can have on a young person’s life. It’s amazing to see what they can do once they have barriers removed.

Can you tell me about the mentoring program you went through at school, and the impact that had on you?

NITOR is a year 10, school-based program that aims to promote and improve the educational, academic and professional outcomes of disengaged year 10 boys. The NITOR program challenges the traditional education paradigm by transcending the student-teacher relationship, shifting the focus and emphasis of the school curriculum and providing the necessary environment for disenfranchised young men to reconnect with their enthusiasm for education.

My role as ambassador of the NITOR program is to deliver annual Q&A’s and talks with each year’s cohort. I am a former student and graduate of the NITOR program in 2011, and this mentoring had a huge impact on my life. It completely transformed my education trajectory and had a profound impact on the values and principles I used to guide my life. It led to becoming the chief executive of Community Health Advancement and Student Engagement (CHASE), which is a peer-to-peer mentoring program that aims to improve health literacy among year 11 VCAL students in Melbourne’s west.

Where do you plan to pursue a career?

I want to work in education policy and
with young people. I am fortunate enough to work with the Foundation for Young Australians’ Social Enterprise YLab that combines both of my passions. I hope I can continue working in this space and having a bigger impact on the shape of education policy and debates as well as providing the opportunity for young people to empower themselves through education.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I can hold a handstand for 30 seconds.