Sen­a­tor fires up youth to find voice

Southern Telegraph - - News - Stu­art Hor­ton

Bal­divis youth ad­vo­cacy group Youth on Fire WA hosted a fo­rum with Greens Sen­a­tor for WA Jor­don Steele-John last Fri­day on the im­por­tance of young peo­ple hav­ing a voice in so­ci­ety.

The Young Peo­ple Chang­ing the World event al­lowed lo­cal youth an op­por­tu­nity to en­gage with a Fed­eral politi­cian and talk about the ways they can make their voices heard.

Mr Steele-John was just 22 when he was cat­a­pulted into the na­tional po­lit­i­cal spot­light last July af­ter Scott Lud­lam was caught up in the dual cit­i­zen­ship af­fair, and en­tered the Se­nate as Mr Lud­lam’s re­place­ment on Novem­ber 10 last year, aged 23.

Youth on Fire’s Sarah Blake said the group was keen to team with Mr Steele-John be­cause of his pas­sion for young peo­ple.

“We wanted to cre­ate a space for our youth to come to­gether and hear (Mr Steele-John’s) story and share their ex­pe­ri­ences col­lec­tively; to come to­gether and say ‘this is what’s im­por­tant for our youth’,” she said.

“To learn from Jor­don and his knowl­edge, to feel like part of the big­ger pic­ture, will help them

re­alise they are im­por­tant and can shape our fu­ture.”

Mr Steele-John said he was ex­cited to speak with chil­dren from his lo­cal com­mu­nity and to help them find a voice in so­ci­ety.

“Peo­ple from Bal­divis and sub­urbs around Perth and WA so of­ten feel shut out of the de­ci­sion-mak­ing pro­cesses that shape our lives and I think it’s re­ally im­por­tant that they re­alise they are pow­er­ful, they mat­ter and their voices de­serve to be heard,” he said. “When young peo­ple en­gage in pol­i­tics,

it shouldn’t be a mono­logue, it should be a con­ver­sa­tion. (Young Peo­ple Chang­ing the World) isn’t about me hold­ing court and talk­ing about my wise ex­pe­ri­ences, it’s about say­ing ‘what are you ex­pe­ri­enc­ing? What do you want politi­cians to be do­ing?’.”

Youth on Fire WA was formed to of­fer sup­port to chil­dren and fam­i­lies im­pacted by sui­cide and to pro­vide sup­port through pro­grams de­liv­ered at lo­cal high schools and through ac­tiv­i­ties.

Visit face­book.com/Youth OnFireWA.

Sarah Blake, Rhys Peak man and Ge­of­frey “TJ” King, of Youth on Fire, with Greens Sen­a­tor for WA Jor­don Steele-John, sec­ond from left.

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