Merrylands local on youth advisory council

Parramatta youth will be represented by Merrylands’ Rawand Al-Hinti who was appointed to the NSW youth advisory council this month.

The former MacArthur Girls High School vice captain, who has served as a youth mentor at Granville Boys and Auburn Girls high schools, was chosen to be part of the 2014 youth council alongside 11 other young people from across the state.

Ms Al-Hinti, 21, said she was looking forward to advocating for young people in western Sydney and and being a positive role model.

“The issues faced by young people apply across the board but having grown up in western Sydney and considering that demographic, an issue that I'm particularly passionate about is community engagement,” Ms Al-Hinti said.

‘‘There are opportunities out there, just because you're from the west of Sydney or a low socio-economic background doesn't mean you've got to stay stuck there.’’

The combined arts law university student, who works for Law Access NSW, will meet with her fellow youth council members eight times during 2014, with their first major project to assist youth minister Victor Dominello in preparations for Youth Week in April.

‘‘Youth Week’s theme this year is mental health, so breaking down the stigma and getting young people not only to know about it but to help their friends or themselves.’’

Granville Boys High School’s head welfare teacher Safa Libdy described Rawand as a ‘‘tremendous asset’’ for the youth council and a great role model for young Muslim women and for young people generally.

‘‘She’s got a wealth of talent,’’ Ms Libdy said. ‘‘She’s dedicated not only to the youth in our community but I think to young people in general.’’

Youth minister Victor Dominello said Ms Al-Hinti and her peers will work collaboratively to have their say on NSW government policies and strategies which matter to young people.

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