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Are You Involved? Youth Councils Different People, Different Voices How To Get The Job - WITH THE HELP OF AN EXPERT

news • opportunities • action • opinion December 2012 - January 2013 unleash


unleash 22


December 2012 - January 2013

In this issue of unleash...

unleash is YAPA’s magazine of youth opinion and action.

unleash heads to SHIFT THIS!


If you are under 20, unleash gives you the opportunity to express your opinions on issues that concern you. It also supports and encourages you to take positive action to improve your community and young people’s lives.

Tamara Lennon tells us What Matters to her


YOLO – Or Do You? Get the latest on driving facts with YAPA’s Sam


Creating change – with board games! Tanya Land from Burwood shows us how


Juggling and Other Extracurricular Activities with Michael Elliot


unleash intern Katerina breaks down what Youth Councils are all about


Annie, a HR expert, lets us in on the secrets of applying for a job


Check out the beautiful photography of 18 year old Snapshot photography competition finalist Annabelle Colussi of Toongabbie – “Summer Jump”


editor Bridie Moran

coordinator Nick Manning

graphic design Emma-Lee Crane, Milk Thieves Art & Design YAPA, the Youth Action & Policy Association NSW Inc, is the peak organisation representing young people & youth services in NSW. YAPA is not religious and not party political. YAPA receives core funding from the NSW Government - Department of Family and Community Services. More at get unleash unleash is published 6 times each year. See the subscription details on the back cover, or go to feedback We want to hear what you like, what you don’t like, and what you would like, in unleash. We also want to hear what you think about the issues discussed in unleash. Just email: contribute unleash is a space for young people aged 12-19. See how you can contribute on page 21, or go to advertise If you would like to advertise in unleash, please contact Nick Manning at YAPA on (02) 8218 9803 or email legalities unleash is © Copyright YAPA 2012. Individual articles are copyright the individual authors. Contact us if you would like to copy something from unleash.

Plus our regular features:

unleash ASKS Editor’s WORD News Opportunities unleash yourself

03 04 05 20 21

front cover

This edition’s cover art is by Irangi Matapuku from St Clair in Western Sydney. Irangi is 14 years old and was commended in the recent SNAPSHOT competition at the Penrith Regional Gallery.

Opinions are the authors’ and not necessarily YAPA’s. contact us Bridie Moran - Editor unleash magazine Youth Action & Policy Association NSW Inc Suite 403, 64-76 Kippax Street Surry Hills NSW 2010 (02) 8218 9800 fax (02) 9281 5588


unleash December 2012 - January 2013

Irangi will receive a voucher to take part in the Snapshot workshops at Penrith Regional Gallery on behalf of YAPA and Penrith Regional Gallery. If you are under 20 years and would like us to consider your art, in any form, for a future front cover of unleash, email

unleash asks

“Why did you come to

SHIFT THIS 2012 - a festival for young

agents of change?”

I want to

To meet new people - the

the way people see

of Australia.

change future leaders disabled kids – I came here to start. - Sam, 15, Snowy River

I wanted to be

- Tim, 13, Moree

I really wanted to meet people I wouldn’t

usually meet on my school holidays. Who else can say that they learnt how to

inspired. change the world - Danielle, 14, Kogarah

these holidays? - Imogen, 16, Manly

I’ve always had

a dream of

I set myself a goal to To be informed of

make a but I wanted helping people,

to learn about

how I can make

that a reality. - Grace, 12, Manly


current issues that

threaten youth and to


on how to do that.


- Rosa, 15, Hinchinbrook

- Isabelle, 16, Warringah

in my community and the

world. This is the place I

can soak up the information

back in my community. December 2012 - January 2013 unleash


editor’s letter

gettIng publIshed Hi unleashers! As Editor of unleash, one of the questions that I get asked most is how to get writing published. As part of Shift This 2012, YAPA’s festival for youth ideas and actions, I presented a workshop on just that, and I wanted to share some of the hints and tips I have with unleash readers here. One of the first steps to getting published is to start writing. Easier said than done, right? (I’ll be honest – it’s sometimes taken me a few false starts at writing my Editor’s letters for unleash!) The best way to get writing is to think about something that you would like to read- and create it on the page. Sometimes this will mean that you need to do some research – don’t be afraid to spend some time with Google before you hit the keyboard. Once you know what you would like to write, think about where you want to see it. Want to write about your experience in a youth organisation? Maybe Rolling Stone isn’t the best place for it! (unleash would be!) If lipstick reviews are your thing, reconsider those emails you were about to send to Time Magazine and The Big Issue and check out Dolly. It’s important to make sure that you are approaching the right publication – and writing in a style that suits. Before you send off something you want published, do your research – read back issues and articles. Having decided what to write and where you would like to see it, get in touch – most publications will have a link on their website labeled “contributions” or “submissions” – with instructions on how to submit your writing. Often, there will be an email for an editor – get in touch with them with either a pitch for an article you would like to write or a completed article that suits their style. Make sure that whatever you send has been spell-checked and has good grammar, with correct facts. Include your name, email address and phone number (and age if you are writing for a youth publication) along with your submission. Don’t give up if you don’t get published on the first try – hardly anyone does! Ask politely if you could have some feedback on how to improve – most editors will be able to give you an idea – and try again. If your article or story is selected, you will often be asked to make some changes, with the help of the editor. They may also ask you for a picture of you (a headshot) to include along with the article, and photographs or images to accompany your writing. Once you see your words in print, make sure you keep a copy, to add to a file of your writing that will become your portfolio. Your writing portfolio will follow you for the rest of your career, and will help you get jobs (and show off to your family). If you are thinking of getting published, unleash is a great place to start – email me, Bridie, at - I’m happy to help you get started! I’ve also listed some other resources for young writers. Can’t wait to see you in print,

Bridie 4

unleash December 2012 - January 2013

Express Media: Express Media’s mission is to provide support and development opportunities for young people in writing and media. They run a publication called Voiceworks that anyone under 25 can submit to, as well as two websites, The underage and The Signal Express. lip Magazine: lip is for girls who think, feel, create, speak out, and live. The magazine publishes fun, informative and truthful articles and fiction. Page Seventeen: Page Seventeen was born because there are not enough opportunities for new writers to see their work published. They encourage those with little or no publishing history to submit work for consideration. university Student Newspapers: If you are at or starting uni, keep an eye out on campus for student newspapers, such as the university of Sydney’s Honi Soit. They accept submissions from all students and will help you learn to write for a newspaper. Some even offer paid jobs! This edition’s $50 gift voucher goes to Tanya Land of Burwood for her article: Different People, Different Voices: Tackling Cultural Bullying… With Board Games! check it out on Page 10!

If you would like to contribute to unleash, email your article (or artwork) to

YOUth in the news

unleash’s take on how young people made the news in the last month or so... and any extras that might be relevant to you! Byron Bay High School Students Advise Government On Youth Issues In Byron Bay, the NSW Government has turned to young people to learn about the issues facing local high-schoolers. Megan Mitchell, the Commissioner for the NSW Commission for Children and Young People said: “Recently I had the rewarding experience of visiting students from Byron Bay High School during Education Week to learn what directly concerns them. Byron Bay High School student Nami Burns believes that some of the biggest issues affecting children and young people in her area include depression, peer pressure, cyber bullying, bullying in general, binge drinking and drugs. Fellow student Joel Ashworth shares Nami’s concerns about the use and abuse of drugs and alcohol, peer pressure, bullying and a lack of connectedness with adults felt by some children and young people.” Source:

“Social Jetlag” Do you ever have trouble getting to sleep? If you’ve been told to switch off the TV before going to bed – your parents might have been right. But if you still stay awake well after lights out, there may be other reasons – and researchers from the University of Sydney think they know what those are! A study of more than 1100 Australian teenagers showed that those who were most likely to be sleep deprived were interacting heavily with mobile devices around bedtime – like phones and iPads – and found it very hard to ‘switch off’. Dr Nathaniel Marshall, who ran the study, suggested that many teens suffer from a sort of “social jetlag”, saying that “The presence of these devices is not the problem, it’s when these [young people] can’t help themselves but use it all night…” Read more:

One Young Girl’s Cyber-Bullying Message Young People and Unemployment It’s HSC time again and for many young people, it may soon be time to look for a job. But what is the environment like for young people in Australia entering the workforce? A recent report by the Foundation for Young Australians called “How Young People Are Faring” says that at 16.6 per cent, youth unemployment remains almost three times higher than for the population as a whole. While there are more Australian young people staying at school to Year 12 than ever before, many young people facing financial disadvantages or living in rural areas may need more support in finding work after study, the report suggests. Source:

The worst imaginable result of cyber-bullying has been played out as fifteen-year-old Canadian high school student Amanda Todd’s story hit the news in October. Not long after posting a moving YouTube video highlighting her own experiences at the hands of bullies who harassed her online, Amanda took her own life. Her mother has said that she hopes the video message left behind by Amanda will help stop cyber-bullying happening – “One of Amanda’s goals was to get her message out there and have it used as a learning tool for others.” If you have been the victim of cyber bullies or online harassment (or know someone who has), keep a record of what has been said and done online and speak to someone you know. You can also get in touch with the Kids Helpline by calling: 1800 55 1800. And see the tips at:

More news, and links to full articles are at:

December 2012 - January 2013 unleash


What’s YAPA Up To?




By Bridie Moran, unleash Editor, and Katerina Jovanovska, unleash intern

What do you get when you put seventy young people from across New South Wales together to discuss ideas about action and change? What’s the result of encouraging young people from places like Queanbeyan, Moree and Manly to interact and share ideas about how to create positive change in their community? It’s big, it’s exciting, it has delicious food - it’s YAPA’s SHIFT THIS 2012! SHIFT THIS is a bi-annual festival for young agents of change. If the name wasn’t enough to get you excited, the Minister for Communities, Victor Dominello praised the conference for empowering young people with skills in leadership and advocacy. “SHIFT THIS was the highlight of all the conferences I’ve been to that focus on leadership and change. I was given the chance to really think about the things I feel we need to combat, but was also encouraged to think about the solution to those problems.” said Katerina, who first attended in 2010. So what actually happens at SHIFT THIS?


unleash December 2012 - January 2013

It seems that excitement was in the air, with young people walking through the door each morning, eager to explore the possibilities of the day. Participants took their pick of workshops to take part in throughout the day, ranging from abolishing youth homelessness, to learning how to debate with hip-hop. Each day there was something different - one hour you’d be sitting and listening to the inspirational Gracia Ngoy talking about her determination to succeed in Australian journalism (despite not being able to speak English a few years ago!), and next thing you know you’re debating about the role of the youth in Australia with a hip-hop beat, busting out dance moves to match. SHIFT THIS gives young people the chance to stand up and be heard in many different environments, while making life-long friends along the way!

Many participants came with their local Youth Advisory Committee groups, while others came along by themselves to soak up the fiesta of change. YAPA’s Outburst! team shared their video on changing the perception of Western Sydney. It captured the imagination of the SHIFT THIS audience, who saw another side to the stereotypes of the Western Sydney area.

Young people weren’t the only ones feeling the inspiration YAPA’s Director of Policy and Advocacy, Eamon Waterford, said: “Oh my gosh, the conference was awesome. I think my favourite bit was hearing young people who were outraged at the way that police treat them - and then getting to learn their legal rights. Passion, action and success!”, while YAPA’s Emily Jones thought “It was incredibly inspiring to see the ideas and action at SHIFT THIS 2012! A conference like this proves once again that a group of young people with heaps of energy have all the ideas needed to make their world a better place. “

2012 was a standout year for SHIFT THIS, a festival of social, political and creative goodness that gives a real voice to young people all over the state. Participants left feeling inspired that they can be the change they’re advocating for and that they have the ability to impact their community for the better. At the end of the festival, young people wrote letters to the Minister, suggesting changes that can me made to help young people around the country, hip-hop workshoppers showed off their skills and everyone raved about how delicious the snacks were. Jeez it’s a shame we’re going to have to wait two years for the next one...

Young people used the festival as an opportunity to speak out about what they want to achieve and meet others who share their goals. Simran, 16, from Dee Why, said that SHIFT THIS 2012 was an opportunity “to explore the different avenues in which we can make a change and meet new young people to be inspired by them.”

December 2012 - January 2013 unleash



By tamara lennon, of Trinity Catholic School, Year 11/12 Runner up in the What Matters? essay competition “Everyone has inside of her a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!” In 1942, a thirteenyear-old girl fleeing persecution began to write a diary. Today the words of Anne Frank have reached millions of people worldwide, and have made a difference in society. Making a difference is about sharing yourself with the world. Sharing your potential. Your talent. And advocating for a change. One can change the world with passion for equality and a belief in a better future. For making a difference means making it different. And this is what matters in society today.

In her time spent hiding from the German authorities in a hidden annexe, Anne Frank wrote her diary strictly for herself. However wanting to bring attention to the suffering of people under the German occupation, Anne decided that when the war was over she would publish a book based on her diary. But on the 4th August 1944, the diary abruptly ends as the eight people hiding in the annexe were arrested. In the winter of 1945, Anne died due to the horrendous hygiene conditions in a concentration camp. But her words live on. Her father, Otto Frank published Anne’s work and in doing so brought her message to the world.

In the global community, gender inequality has lead to an inequality within the health system. Today, more than 15 million women worldwide are living with HIV, and approximately 530,000 women die each year during pregnancy or childbirth.

Through her diary, Anne shared herself with the world. Her deepest thoughts and true emotions have made a difference. People have become aware of the suffering caused by injustice and inequality. Anne changed the world with words. And this matters.

Numerous health and social factors combine to create a lower quality of life for women. In many societies women are disadvantaged by discrimination and unequal access to information, care and basic health practices.

Every person has the ability to make a difference. To impact on the life of an individual, a community, or the world at large. We all have the power to think positively, and make change possible. In society today, gender inequality, especially in the area of health, needs improvement. It is our responsibility to make this happen. Making a difference is an individual choice to be involved in something of great importance. In today’s society, making a difference is what matters. I believe one can make a difference by sharing themselves with the world. Know your potential and hope for the future. And “don’t think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains” – Anne Frank.

Worldwide, of the 1.3 billion poor, 70% are women. Poverty is an important barrier to break to move towards positive health outcomes for society. As global citizens it is our duty to advocate for change, to improve society through the improvement of health. The area of health is a passion of mine. In my Immersion to the Solomon Islands, I experienced first hand gender inequality. I was confronted with the poor health services and opportunities offered to the communities. In living the life of the locals, my passion for social justice and equality intensified. I am determined to make a difference. To play my part in achieving health equality. For no one should be sick or die because of gender inequality. 8

Making a difference means sharing your thoughts, hopes and passions with the world. In sharing yourself, you give something of greater worth to society.

unleash December 2012 - January 2013

The What Matters? essay competition is run each year by the Whitlam Institute

youth issue

You Only Live Once – Especially When You’re

Behind The

Wheel By Sam, a YAPA intern who knows what YOLO means – but she found out while sitting at a desk! So you think you can text and drive? Chances are you’re not flipping through this article while driving along the M5 at a steady 90km/h. Yet if statistics are anything to go by they might have just sent off a text or created a quick status update.

Guilty! Shame face :/

While we are all aware that as drivers we are constantly being distracted by texts, Twitter, SMS, Instagram or amazing YouTube clips, it seems we are ignoring the very real possibility that these can be the difference between life and death.

But I’ma be seriously quick – like half a second glance. No biggie.

We’re also blowing a bit of money in the process of sending these texts. In NSW, mobile phone related fines for young drivers have almost quadrupled in the past four years, police have stated. This is serious evidence that we have a problem in our hands, pun intended. However, it doesn’t seem like everyone’s too concerned… take this commentator from the SMH page: “Apart from the occasional blitz… very rare to see a police car actually patrolling or pulling someone up for non-speeding offences. Eg. last week’s SMH story was about indicating being more hazardous than using a phone.” Bobo, Sydney, May 09 2012, 3:07PM. The NSW operations manager for Traffic and Highways Patrol Command, Phillip Brooks, told a harrowing story of two young drivers whose conversation ended in a double fatality. Upon surveying the scene, their phones were recovered with half written text messages. This isn’t a pretty picture. We know the risks, but we still do it anyway. Instead of more horror stories, I’ll give you a practical example from the NRMA. A group of young drivers were challenged to text while driving in a closed circuit at a steady 60km/h. How many meters did you think they were not looking at the road for? 22 meters.

The AAMI Young Drivers Index has actually come up with a new category of people who fear being without their phones: “Nomophobics”. Habits like these are being blamed for the increased risks that young drivers are taking on the roads. Close to half (46 percent) of all 18-24 year old respondents to the AAMI survey reported that they have made calls without using a handsfree device and 58 percent admitted to sending a text behind the wheel.


But the news wasn’t all bad – some beer goggles have been taken off as it was apparent that young drivers today are less likely to drink and drive than in previous years. But the beer goggles have been replaced with a similarly dangerous accessory – mobiles. A South Australian Police study claims that sending a text while driving is just as dangerous as driving with a .08 blood alcohol limit.

For 22 meters, these drivers were, for all intents and purposes, blind. So, while checking on whether your friend has texted back, or Googling what “YOLO” means*, maybe it’s time to reconsider whether we really do possess superhuman multitasking skills when it comes to texting and driving. Let’s admit that this is one of those times that we can’t do it all. Your text messages don’t self-combust if they are not read, and it doesn’t look like Google is going anywhere – and there are definitely more important things in life than learning terrible new slang words. After all, you only live once. (YOLO). From the 1st of November 2012, it became illegal in NSW to even touch a mobile phone while driving… something to keep in mind when you’re feeling tempted.

December 2012 - January 2013 unleash




people, dIfferent

voIces: tAcklIng culturAl


WIth boArd

gAmes! By tanya t land, a participant in the Different People Different Voices Project Cultural bullying is everyone’s problem. While Australia is becoming an increasingly culturally diverse nation resulting in an abundance of cultural food, language and knowledge, we are constantly challenged by issues such as racism and cultural bullying. In 2011, when Burwood Council gained funding with a “Building Resilient Communities” grant, a project was initiated for young people, by young people, in the inner west of Sydney. Youth workers and stakeholders made a decision that a youth-centered resource combating cultural bullying would be appropriate and useful. The idea was to create a learning tool that high school students would find educational but also interactive, involving and fun. After working together, this learning tool wound up coming in the form of a board game! I was lucky enough to be one of the young people who was privileged enough to be part of the Different People Different Voices (DPDV) Project run by Burwood Council throughout 2011 and 2012. It has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life as it has empowered me, and other young people, and offered a real opportunity to make a difference to the wider community. The DPDV Project was a great experience and learning tool not only for young people but also for youth workers who were able to gain a better understanding of issues facing young people. At monthly meetings, we were given the opportunity to socialise and network with other like-minded


unleash December 2012 - January 2013

young people from different parts of the inner-west as well as stakeholders who have different roles in the community. These meetings also gave everyone the opportunity to brainstorm ideas and offer opinions that would slowly come to shape the final product. However, the most important part, I believe, was that these meetings provided an outlet for youth to share personal experiences regarding cultural bullying and being heard by others. The sharing of personal experiences made the topic even more real, especially to some who weren’t aware of the extent of cultural bullying within schools and the community. Throughout the year, we slowly saw our combined efforts come together to form the first draft of the board game. After a few more sessions with the draft board game and facilitator training the board game was unleashed upon unsuspecting school students. The idea to use youth leaders as facilitators worked really well and added to the genuine youth nature of the project as school students were able to engage with facilitators on a close level. Overall, being involved in the DPDV project has empowered everyone involved. The confidence gained from the experience will flow through to other aspects of life. I hope that in the future more people will be able to benefit from the program. The DPDV project is a great example of how a group of like-minded youth and youth workers can come together and create a resource to tackle cultural bullying while simultaneously empowering youth across Sydney. While the board game is currently only being circulated in certain areas of Sydney, I would like to see such a great resource being used in other areas, not only in Sydney, but perhaps the entire state. Hopefully, this pilot project is only the beginning for other programs in discussing and combating a problem that is very real in every community.

The My Australia Our Australia board game is a tool to assist students to identify and address issues of cultural bullying and intolerance. Through the game play, the board game provides facts, statistics and most importantly practical ways which students can use to intervene in a situation where cultural bullying is prevalent. The board game asks students to make the pledge: ‘I will not be a silent witness to cultural intolerance’. Image thanks to Burwood City Council

December 2012 - January 2013 unleash


my story

Juggling AND Other


Activities By Michael Elliot, athlete, AFL umpire, debater and student – and much more!

The 8th of October 2012 signifies a couple of important moments in my life. It’s my first day as a year 12 student and also my 17th birthday. For most people in the same situation, the next year will be all about preparing for the dreaded HSC and trying to get the best ATAR that they possibly can. However, for me, it’ll be about the HSC, training for athletics and cross-country, handling the abuse that comes from being an AFL umpire and trying to finally win the Premier’s Debating Challenge. So why do I put these extra burdens on myself? Why do I make everything so much more difficult for myself by having to balance each different component of my non-stop busy life? You hear a lot about the kids doing really well in their final year being the ones who have a stress release from the things they do outside school, but that’s only part of the reason I do what I do. I do all of these things because I love them each individually and I couldn’t imagine going on without any of them. I’ll start with my chosen sport of distance running. (I could go on for hours about it to be honest.) Running is my one true love and I’m really passionate about it even though I’ve only been in the sport for a short time. I’d always been semi-alright at Cross Country and Middle Distance on the track but I don’t think I’d ever really make it to a high level. Early last year I started training one day a week in the hope that I’d maybe scrape through to the State Cross Country. I got more than I bargained for. I ended up coming 20th at state Cross Country and managed to make the state 3000m track race as well. This left me with the burning desire to achieve more and it really was the start of something big.


unleash December 2012 - January 2013

Since then I’ve started training my heart out with a local squad and managed to exceed all expectations of myself by being selected to represent NSW at the Australian Junior Track and Field Championships and the Australian Cross Country Championships earlier on this year. My rapid improvement from a mediocre at best runner to someone who can compete at a pretty elite level has shown me that anything is possible when you put your heart and soul into it. Most importantly, it’s also helped me learn to cope with disappointment. The happy moments in distance running are few and far between but I use the lows as motivation to get better. I’ve put myself through the same torture in debating. While debating can be stressful at the best of times, I’ve managed to get into a team that’s achieved a lot over the last couple of years, which eases the pain a bit. I do enjoy winning, so it’s great! I’m not the star of the team by any means though. As first speaker my role is pretty subdued, as not to overshadow the two star speakers who follow. I’m happy to play the backseat role though, because I know I wouldn’t even be able to debate without the girls! We’ve placed 2nd and 3rd in the Premier’s debating challenge over the last 2 years and having to cope with the disappointment of loss at such a high level has definitely helped me put things in perspective when it comes to everything else I do. I can kind of relate it back to my running through the reflection that just making it to a high level is an achievement within itself. Our aim for 2013 will be to finally come out with the winner’s trophy, but should we lose it won’t be disappointing because I know we will have achieved as much as we can.

Out of all the disappointments I’ve had, they’ve probably been the worst in my role as an AFL Umpire. While it’s rewarding in life experiences, umpiring can often be a thankless business. You cop abuse and have your authority called into question all the time. To top that off it’s an incredibly competitive business where you have to be fully committed to improving your own performance to advance to higher levels. After feeling I’d been snubbed opportunities at the end of the 2009 and 2010 seasons, last year I poured everything into umpiring and was duly rewarded. This year was a little more difficult as I’ve had to juggle my time as an umpire with running. I’ve let running take priority over the past 6 months, which has affected the AFL season just passed. I’ve had to accept the disappointments of falling behind a few people I was on level terms with or even ahead of in my development at the start of the year. Part of the challenge for me has been to accept that I can only really put the required effort into one of my chosen pursuits. Others have put the work into umpiring that I haven’t this year. The way I’ve been able to accept this is only made possible through the lessons I’ve learnt from disappointment through my experiences in running and debating. While it appears on the surface that distance running, debating and AFL umpiring have nothing to do with each other, they’re all related through the great highs and lows that I experience through them. While running a personal best time or speaking well and winning a debate is great, it’s the poorly run races, the poor speeches and losses and the poor decisions and games I don’t get to umpire that are really beneficial for me. All in all, each activity I do has taught me how to handle disappointment and to turn it into motivation to do better, something that will be vital if I’m to keep my head and do well during my final 12 months at school. Some might call me crazy, but I’m really looking forward to the lessons I’ll learn and the challenges that are going to be thrown my way in the next year!

December 2012 - January 2013 unleash


are they listening?


Councils By Katerina Jovanovska, 19, our unleash intern and ex-KYACer.

One of my favourite things about going to school in Sydney was the abundance of leadership opportunities for young people. State SRC camp, National Young Leaders Day, MOSAIC Fusion Forum - you name it! As a young girl excited by the prospect of being involved in anything that promised change, I loved immersing myself in these leadership programs. They were incredibly rewarding, and each taught me something new about the art of leadership, the necessity of advocacy and the beauty of empowering others. Yet, throughout the four years of my involvement with such programs, I always had a sense that I wasn’t adequately helping people in my local community. I felt like I was learning so much and contributing to these large-scale ideals of ‘empowering the youth’, but never contributing at a grassroots level. Then, my teacher told me about Kogarah Youth Advisory Council. The KYAC, as it’s affectionately called, is a group of approximately twelve young people that either live or go to school in local council area. They plan youth-focused events and try to engage young people in the area about issues like drugs, alcohol and homelessness. You can imagine that when 16 year old me heard about this, I was over the moon. Finally! I had found a body dedicated to helping the local community. It brought peace to my internal warfare of feeling like I was helping and lending my skills to everybody but those directly around me. Personally, what I was passionate about achieving when I first came into office was letting the young people in the local government area know that the council knew they existed. There are so many schools in Kogarah to the point that the area peaks and troughs with the school holidays, and it’s almost as if everyone experiences pre-HSC fever in October. Yet, aside from the local library, there was actually nowhere for young people to go, nothing for them to see, and nothing for them to do.


unleash December 2012 - January 2013

My YAC (Ed: that’s Youth Advisory Council) experience was pretty extraordinary. We met on the first Thursday of every month at 3:45pm. We had an agenda that was loosely followed, and we discussed any pressing issues in our local area over chips, chocolate and soft drink. If there were any important days or events coming up, we would formulate ideas as to how to spread the message as far and as wide as possible. Naturally, the council was busiest in the months leading up to Youth Week.

2012’s event, I had learnt a lot about innovation and perseverance and I had to shift from a personal frame of mind to a community one and say goodbye to an event that I loved because the people that I was representing didn’t love it like I did. I really thank the YAC for giving me such skills in teamwork and innovation, because now I know how to handle myself if an event that doesn’t run perfectly or doesn’t play out the way I thought it would.

From creating youth-friendly events to ensuring that we all had colour coordinated t-shirts to wear on the day, the YAC was given absolute autonomy over our Youth Week program. That’s what I loved about the whole thing: the ‘old’ council actually let us do the things that we wanted to do, on our own terms. For example, we launched a youth homelessness card and created a breakfast program where we collected donations of food, which we provided to a few local high schools so they could host free breakfasts for their students. We also set about tackling drug and alcohol use by creating a friendly forum for young people to discuss the issues in a relaxed context. The best thing is, we know we did it all ourselves. It’s such an amazing feeling knowing that the leaders of your local area trust you enough to give you the freedom to create the exact event that you hope will bring positive change to the people around you.

But you know what happened as a result of our revamp? ‘Race Around Kogarah’ took Park Live’s place, and boy oh boy was that a hit in 2012. Essentially modelled from ‘The Amazing Race’, we had teams of young people working together to race around the municipality and complete challenges. It wasn’t tackling the big issues, but it was making the young people know that they mattered, the council noticed them, and that they cared enough to develop a program for them.

Something that I will always be grateful to KYAC for are the skills I developed in leadership and compromise. The KYAC youth week event for two years was ‘Park Live’ - a concert by local young people, for local young people. As a music aficionado, I thought this event was sitting at the top of the coolness mountain. However, both 2010 and 2011 Park Lives received a devastatingly low turnout. When it came to planning

YACs are an integral part of any council. They vary in name, and meetings differ in formality, but essentially, every council that has a youth wing gives young people the platform to express their views on issues in the local area and provide solutions to those problems. YACs nurture the young activist, not the token title seeker, and that’s why I believe in their role in the community. If this sounds like something you would be interested in, I encourage you to contact your local YAC! I know that YACs are always keen to have engaged young people on board. Get out there - embrace the opportunity to fight for something you care about. Enjoy seeing the reality of the fact that you can cause change. It’ll rock your world. It certainly did mine.

December 2012 - January 2013 unleash


how to

Get Hired! How to Apply For A Job

– With The Help Of a

Recruitment Expert! With Annie Lam, a recruitment and HR advisor Resumes are one of the most important aspects of your working life. A resume, or CV (Ed: that stands for Curriculum Vitae!), as it’s commonly referred to, is a snapshot of your experience at a particular point in time. It tells an employer about the skills you have and what you can offer their workplace. It’s all about putting your best foot forward – just think, you’re definitely not the only one who’s seen the job and you’re definitely not the only one who’s applied for it. CVs are all about standing out from the crowd. Recruiters can spend seconds – literally seconds – looking at the CV that you’ve spent days on, so we’ve got some tips on how to make the recruiter want to spend more time looking at you and your experience. unleash spoke to Annie Lam, a Recruitment and HR advisor who is responsible for reviewing CVs and finding the best possible candidate for the job. Annie looks at thousands of CVs a year – so you’re going to want to start taking notes! Annie says: For the first time job applicant: •

The CV is all about a snapshot of someone’s experience at one point in time. It’s about putting your best foot forward in that sea of applications. It’s about putting forward the relevance of your life and work experience to your prospective employer.

You don’t know who those other applicants are - so put yourself out there and make yourself relevant!

Depending on the role, a recruiter can spend seconds (and I’m not exaggerating – literally seconds!) checking out your CV – a document that you’ve spent hours, even days working on - so make the recruiter want to spend more time looking at your experience.

Here’s How To Catch Their Attention – And The Job Step 1: Google it! Start by finding templates or generic examples of resumes online - see what’s out there, see what you like.

Step 2: Compiling the CV You’ll see the stock standard items on a resume - and they’re stock standards for a reason! But the relevance of the order changes with the level of role you apply for. For any first time applicant - start with your details, short summary/objective of who you are and what you want to achieve, and your education, experience and any extra curricular activities. Order is important!! Take a methodical approach to how you lay out your CV from top to bottom. Too often I see confusing CVs, which leave me with more questions than answers! Make it easy for the recruiter to spot the things that make you the best person for the job.

Relevant experience! Look at the job description or the ad and think about things that you’ve done that displays that competency or skill. Avoid the temptation of putting everything and anything down. This is something that I don’t see enough of when I am looking for people to hire. Make sure that you tailor your CV to the job - it doesn’t just apply to the Cover Letter! Be smart about the content of your CV and make sure the detail is relevant. Use bullet points to break up text - summarise and be concise. As much as you are awesome, no one wants to read flowery text about how awesome you are. Make your sweet skills easy to spot!

Personalise it! Make it interesting (and I don’t just mean having interesting hobbies at the end of your CV). Put your personal touch to it.


unleash December 2012 - January 2013

(Ed: check out this super-creative CV by Sabrina from the US - and remember that fun stuff can be the best for grabbing people’s attention!).

Step 3 Proofread! Proofread! Proofread! Spend time putting together your CV. People don’t often do so and it seems glaringly obvious, but spelling errors and simple mistakes signal to your potential employer a lack of attention to detail. And the real kicker is when I see CVs that say “Attention to deatil” (Ed: Spot the spelling error!) so go through what you send with a fine tooth-comb to leave nothing to chance.

Step 4 Run your CV by someone else Working in recruitment and HR, I often get asked to review CVs for friends who are applying for jobs, or get asked for advice on how to approach job hunting. I’m not a total expert, but in my young career in Recruitment and HR, I understand how difficult it is for young people who mightn’t have any ideas on where to start. In this day and age where technology is at lightning speed, the job market is competitive and the demand for talent is high, and where people can be headhunted through professional networking platforms like LinkedIn... it’s not possible to keep your CV guarded only to yourself. If you don’t know someone in the recruitment world, ask a mate to take a squiz. Provide them with the job description or ad and ask them if they’d hire you! Get their honest feedback, take it, or leave it, but at least you’ve got a fair idea on how you’d fare. Many university and school careers and employment departments have fantastic workshops and services to support our job hunt either through how-to workshops on putting together your resume or workshops on interviewing. If you’re serious about putting together your CV, whether it is for your first ever job, or your first “real job” spend the time to really think about what sort of first impression you want to make. It all starts from that humble resume. Good luck!

December 2012 - January 2013 unleash



‘Summer Jump’, by Annabelle Colussi (17) of Toongabbie (NSW). This image was an entry into Penrith Regional Gallery’s Snapshot competition.


unleash December 2012 - January 2013

To be featured in you(th) express, send a file of your drawing/painting/collage/photography/poetry/rap/ (anything!) to


By Audrey, 18, from Wagga Wagga.

Stop right here if you read the title and are expecting a nationalistic piece, declaring an undying love for a nation characterised by an obsession with sports, unique pouched fauna, and the phrase “no worries mate”. Instead, recent events have led me to reconsider what my citizenship of two years means, and what my being a part of this country signifies. I want to talk about the darker side of what being Australian means and the impact it can have on others. “Underlying racist taunts, old-fashioned bullying and stereotyping have plagued many of my years in this country. On many occasions, I particularly notice that this racism is directed purely on the basis that I am visibly different to the rest of the population, being of Asian descent. So I pose the question: what has happened to the values that the good old Australian “Fair Go” is built on? Today, at least one in four people in Australia are either born overseas or have at least one parent who has been born overseas. Migrants contribute to a large sector of the economy, through services, trades, as well as cultural imports, which invigorate the Australian marketplace. There are over 200 languages spoken in Australia, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dialects.

With so many ways to say “equality”, it is hard to believe discrimination still exists.

Research shows that only 12 per cent of Australians held negative views towards multiculturalism, however that equates to more than 2.5 million Australians.

We, as a society, need to re-evaluate the values we stand for. Do these values encourage notions of equality and embrace newcomers to our country wholeheartedly? How can we fight a moral battle with overseas asylum seekers, when we cannot stem the anti-immigrant movement within our borders? The asylum seeker debate has created many strong moral responses, most of which refer to the universal right to seek asylum and offshore processing being a denial of such right. However, where does this moral compass point when it comes to the human, inalienable right to live free of discrimination? The media concentrates most of our attention towards the initial processing of asylum seekers, but fail to inform us of how they have been received. The general assumption seems to be that they have been settled into the community with the financial and emotional support to embrace life in a new cultural, socio-political system. However, coming to celebrating my first decade in this country, I have been exposed to the first hand realities of our ‘multicultural’ society. We will not be able to treat asylum seekers with dignity, if we can’t treat our next-door neighbours with respect. I will be nationalistic in saying that being Australian is something we should all be proud of – irrespective of where we come from, where we are born, what the colour of our skin is or what language we speak.

December 2012 - January 2013 unleash



YOUreport Are you aged under 20? Do you love writing? Do you want to have your writing published and win a bunch of awesome prizes?

To enter, you must be under 20 years of age. The winning entry will receive a prize pack of books, CDs and writing supplies, AND be published in Issue 23 of unleash magazine!

Yes? (Duh!) Enter unleash’s brand new competition, Youreport! You Youreport is an opportunity for young people to report on an issue that they think is important. Send unleash a short article (300 words or less) about something that you think young people should know about. You can include pictures, interviews and more.

Second and third prize-winners will also receive a prize, and will be featured on the unleash website. entries close on friday, november 16th at 5pm. To enter, email your YOureport article to Bridie at

Do It Yourself Gigs Youth entertainment organisation Indent, in association with MusicNSW, has released a brand-new book that will help you set up your dream gig! X Festival: DIY Gigs is a comprehensive guide for young people interested in staging their own arts and performance-based events. Covering all aspects of event management, the guide contains content and examples that are geared towards small and medium sized projects with limited budgets and resources.

The information covers scenarios for indoor and outdoor all ages events, under-18s and licensed shows. Whether you’re putting on your first show or performance, exhibitions or openings, screenings or festivals, X Festival will equip you with all the information you need to help you organise a successful event. X Festival: Do It Yourself Gigs is available to purchase now for $15.00 (incl. GST). For single and or bulk purchase head to

Design Youth Week 2013!

AYAC wants you Do you want to represent young people and help to form youth policies, support programs and organisations and get to know other passionate young people? Applications are now open for the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition with positions available on both the Policy Advisory Council and the AYAC Board. Applications forms can be downloaded and submitted online at

If you are a budding designer, use your skills to enter the NSW Youth Week 2013 Design Competition. All you have to do is create a design that will include the National Youth Week logo (download from the website), the words “Youth Week 2013’, the dates of Youth Week 2013 (5 - 14 April 2013) and the Youth Week in NSW website address: The winning entry will receive $1000 prize and design fame as their creation is used across all NSW Youth Week promotion. entries close 30 november 2012. For further information please contact the NSW Youth Week Co-ordinator at or by phone (02) 9995 0535.

Applications close on Monday 12th november.

Find more great opportunities on the unleash website –”


unleash December 2012 - January 2013

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December 2012 - January 2013 unleash


unleash Issue 22  

unleash Issue 22 - youth ideas, action and opinions

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