FOUR aspiring youth leaders have won prestigious, first-of-their-kind scholarships through the Sarina Russo Job Access group.
Daniel Searle, Jade Vogel, Tara Fellowes and Hannah Daniell will all undertake a Diploma of Youth Leadership and Management with the organisation.
The scholarship was established as part of a commitment made to engage and activate youth from the 2016 Albury-Wodonga Youth Forum.
Sarina Russo Group CEO Kathleen Newcombe said the scholarships were part of an ongoing effort to increase youth employment opportunities on the Border.
“The aim of the scholarships was to create an environment where we choose youth leaders to drive our quest to increase youth employment opportunities,” she said.
“By putting some wonderful young people through a leadership and management program, we felt there was an opportunity for them to formally develop those skills where they could create opportunities for their peers of the same age.
“Our winners have been through a very onerous process, one of the criteria was that they already needed to be involved in community engagement.”
Scholarship winner Tara Fellowes, who runs youth homeless support charity Restart as well as working as a teacher's aide at Catholic College Wodonga, said it was important to have young people leading youth initiatives.
“At the end of this I want to be able to engage with young people on the issues that affect them the most,” she said.
“Things like drug and alcohol support, knowing where to go to get help for mental health issues, knowing the value of education and where it can take you.
“My upbringing was a big factor, just wanting to pass on that you can get through things, and I wanted to give back.
“I went through a lot of homelessness and mental health issues, not knowing where to go when you are in a crisis.
“The big thing is to not give up, you just have to keep going.”
Albury mayor Kevin Mack said he was confident the four scholarship winners would go on to have a positive effect on the community.
“These young people aren't just in it for themselves, they're actually going to use their skills to mentor and provide support to other young people,” he said.