Young headspace stars contributing to Mandurah

POSITIVE IMPACT: The Youth Reference Group are young volunteers who donate their time and knowledge to guide the services and events of headspace Mandurah.
POSITIVE IMPACT: The Youth Reference Group are young volunteers who donate their time and knowledge to guide the services and events of headspace Mandurah.

I grew up in a small country town in the north of France.

It was so small, in fact, that only six kids were in my entire year group at school.

Everyone knew everyone and everyone had a place in the community.

We were united by Fêtes, food and dances.

When I moved to Australia I realised how big and scary the world can be.

I found that I was an outsider in a very different kind of community.

However, I've since found my place in our community, I've found where I fit in and I've met so many amazing young leaders along the way.

Rightly or wrongly, people place stereotypes on Mandurah's youth; 'disrespectful', 'rude', 'troubled' - to name a few.

As a young person talking to young people, I've had the opportunity to see Mandurah's youth do so much good.

Volunteer groups such as the Mandurah headspace Youth Reference Group, the Peel Youth Medical Service youth reference group, Mandurah Performing Arts Centre young ambassadors, Making Waves youth leadership group and the Youth on Leadership 2019 camp are just a few of Mandurah's organisations that are part of the positive changes in our city.

These young people are creating amazing opportunities for others, specifically in the areas of art, mental health awareness and community building.

Too often in this world we are drawn to the negatives and made blind to the endless list of positives.

I don't want people to hear the word 'Mandurah' and think of the negatives.

Certainly not when there are so many amazing people who live here and are working to make positive changes in our community.

I ask you to be the change that you wish to see in Mandurah.

I know it sounds like a cliché but today's decisions affect youth more than anyone.

After all we, as young people, are the ones who have to live with them.

Let's work together to create a community we are proud of.

Ella Stephensonis a 16-year-old Youth Reference Group member at headspace Mandurah. The Youth Reference Group are young volunteers who donate their time and knowledge to guide the services and events that headspace Mandurah deliver.