by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
SSC Newspaper : April 2011
Strathfield Scene 13 the big issue www.ourstrathfield.com.au Young people can be their own superheroes Medical student’s just the tonic to improve the image of today’s youth A darsh George is an ambitious, articulate 17-year-old from Strathfield who plans to use his gap year to get some “life experience”. He’s planning to travel for two months before starting to prepare for his degree in medicine early next year. Like so many young people, George feels his generation is misunderstood. But unlike many of his peers, he decided to do something about it. Adarsh approached Strathfield Council in February and told them they needed to do more to promote a positive youth image. He was put in touch with the council’s youth services officer. Now Adarsh is one of an inner circle of young people helping change the face of Youth Week and the Young Achievers awards to make them much more relevant. “The thing is, people think we young people don’t do anything with our lives. The reason why I approached Strathfield Council to work for Youth Week is because I think young people need a voice,” Adarsh said. “ We don’t need superheroes. Young people can be their own superheroes.” Many might think Adarsh is the exception who makes the rule. After all, aren’t young people too busy binge-drinking to play an active part in society? Adarsh is by no means an exception. There are many like him, though their activities rarely make the headlines. “I’ve been volunteering at the Jesmond Nursing Home two to three days a week and I plan to travel later on this year before starting medicine,” he said. “I just want to give something back to the community. That’s the real reason why I want to go into medicine.” The good news for Adarsh and his peers is that the council listened to their advice. In a bold – almost revolutionary – bid to ensure the Youth Achievement Awards are in tune with their target audience, the council has broadened the subjects from the sporting and academic to include business and design. For the first time, a study group of youngsters helped design the advertising flyers. Entries have been flowing in. Again, contrary to most people’s stereotypical expectations, volunteering and community service top the list of most popular submissions. Children, Youth and Family Services Officer Renate Matoe said the awards are going through some revolutionary changes. “ We’ve had a few conversations with some of the kids about things like the study café that we run as a safe space for kids to express their ideas,” she said. “Kids talk openly about what they think they deserve in society. And the thing is, some kids really want to prove older people wrong. They want to make a name for themselves.” Adarsh has total faith in the ability of his peers to help continue making their contribution. “From everything people see in music videos, in magazines and in TV shows, older people think we are bad and do bad things but there are so many great young people out there,” he said. “ We need a voice and the thing about the youth week is that it gives us the choice to speak out for our rights and what we believe in.” Role model: Adarsh George is adding gloss to the image of today’s youth Thanks to Lindsay Lohan, the meaning of “youth” will never be the same again. Alcohol, drugs, shoplifting, nudity, rehab – she’s done it all. But that doesn’t mean the rest of us have. Or does it? A quick trip to Woolworths with Mum the other night soon turned into a long-winded discussion – no, lecture – about drugs. As she glared at the group of boys smoking and spitting in front of the karaoke room, her hand tightened around mine. I quickly lowered my head as we crossed the road; too late. I waved limply back at one of the boys. Suddenly, I was being bombarded with questions. “Who is he? How do you know him? Do you smoke?” I suddenly felt guilty as I carefully weighed my response. Was I ashamed of my friend? Or was I scared of my mum’s judgement? Before I could answer I bumped into another friend. She was modestly dressed, with her mother, and not smoking. “She was a prefect in high school,” I told Mum proudly as my friend walked off. “Okay, but who was that boy? Are you two close? Does he do drugs?” Why do adults only recall the bad things about us youth? We do some good, too. Like the National Youth Week (NYW) coming up next month. Aimed at 12 to 25-year-olds across Australia, the celebration includes music concerts, hip-hop classes, forums, fashion shows and mechanical bull rides. With this year’s theme “Own it!”, NYW’s an opportunity for young people to share ideas, have their voices heard on issues of concern and showcase their talents. It’s also a chance to prove young people aren’t synonymous with sex, drugs and violence. Starting in 1988, NYW has grown to be the only mass event organised by local young people for local young people. As Australia’s largest celebration of young people, NYW also promotes safe partying and targets bullying. While it tackles key youth issues, other critical matters are also addressed – there’s even a workshop on cooking quick, nutritious meals. Other events include African drumming workshops and table tennis competitions, both aimed at cross- cultural understanding. Strathfield youth have their own event, Karaoke Strathfield Stylez, today, April 8. Come and sing your heart out at FM Singing studio, Strathfield Square. National Youth Week runs until Sunday, April 10. Maybe some adults should take a look, too. BY NAEUN KIM Young and restless: Naeun Kim, 18 listen up: the candid confessions of a Gen Y-er Join Naeun’s blog at www.ourstrathfield.com.au hoW You can Get involved There’s still time to enter the Youth Achievement Awards at www.strathfield.nsw. gov.au. Entries are particularly encouraged in the business section. Entries close on April 29.