Youth Action Group Calls on Young Australians to Get Involved in Social Issues
25 September 2017 at 11:14 am
A group of youth activists has called for more young Australians to get involved in volunteering and social issues, at a compassion booth event held in Melbourne.
Melbourne City Mission’s Youth Action Group (YAG) created a drop-in booth at Flagstaff Gardens on Thursday 21 September, for International Day of Peace.
These young activists wanted “to spark a conversation between diverse groups and inspire acts of compassion from individuals on this important international day”.
At the booth, YAG handed out compassion cards and encouraged people to discuss experiences of inequality and compassion on issues of gender, race and culture, homelessness, Indigenous rights, mental health and LGBTIQ+.
One of the event organisers, Aishwarya Pokkuluri, said she joined YAG to make a difference to the community with like-minded people, which inspired her to create this event.
“We came up with this event because we realised we were all passionate about inequality. So we raised these six topics which we thought were really important and we were passionate about,” Pokkuluri told Pro Bono News.
“And we put them together and created this compassion booth, where we hand out cards [and encourage people] to take action on these topics.”
She said events like these helped foster the passion young people had for social causes.
“Lots of young people care about [social issues]. And that’s why we organised this, because we want young people to express themselves,” the 21-year-old said.
“We want to decrease the stigma around these issues and get more people involved in volunteering.”
Another YAG member is 22-year-old Aneeka McNamara, who told Pro Bono News she joined the group to help young local people in need of support.
“I graduated from a Bachelor of International Studies and so I had done a lot of mission work and volunteering overseas,” McNamara said.
“And I really [was keen] to do work focused on a local level, which I hadn’t done before.”
McNamara said the booth had been a success, with many young people wanting to get involved.
“We’ve had a couple of school groups here, who were wanting to engage. And there’s been a lot of issues at the moment that people can resonate with, and who want to be a part of change.”
She said she understood that many young people had busy schedules, which made them hesitant to get involved in volunteering.
But she pointed out the power of young people’s voices in effecting social change, highlighted by the same-sex marriage postal-survey currently underway.
“I think a lot of young people are very busy with study and work and sometimes I think people need to know ways of how they can become involved and work around [their schedules],” McNamara said.
“And also they don’t want an intimidating environment and need to know how they can put some time aside from their studies to make a difference.
“But if we can put our voices together, we can really make an impact and see a huge change. This is shown today with the ‘yes’ campaign for marriage equality. If everyone speaks up with their opinion, then change with issues like this is possible.”