Student’s voice is heard at local council

zyhannah-belmontBelmont City College’s Follow The Dream program is always looking for suitable opportunities for their students to develop and practice leadership skills in a variety of real world settings. In Term3 2013, Belmont City Council approached Belmont City College to be involved in their 2014 NAIDOC Working Group. Consisting of representatives from community organisations, the Council and local elders, the working group is responsible for planning the activities that will make up the City Council’s large NAIDOC celebrations in July.  The Council wanted to hear the voices and opinions of young people via a youth representative also participating in the monthly meetings. Contributing opinions in a formal meeting context while being surrounded by influential community members is a daunting proposition for anyone, but this opportunity was deemed to be the perfect vehicle for Follow The Dream student Zyhannah Bin Jalil to extend her leadership skills.

Zyhannah comes from Kimberley community of Beagle Bay and joined the College as a Year 8 student in 2012. After a semester of mixed school results, Zyhannah was motivated to improve herself and she joined the Follow The Dream program half way through Year 8. Since that time Zyhannah has dedicated herself to her studies and has developed herself into an impressive young role model and mentor for other students. In 2013 Zyhannah completed a College record 209 hours of Follow The Dream tutoring and was promoted into academic extension classes for all of her subjects. Zyhannah was also involved in mentoring and leadership roles across the College such as taking a leading role in organising College NAIDOC activities and transition activities for Aboriginal students from local primary schools. As a result of dedication, discipline and positive influence on others, Zyhannah was awarded the College’s 2013 Follow The Dream “Rising Star Award”.

“When I got asked to be part of the Council’s NAIDOC Working Group I wasn’t really sure what it was going to be like but sounded like a great opportunity. We talk a lot in Follow The Dream about stepping out of our comfort zone, taking a risk, “no shame” and challenging ourselves as the only way to grow, so in the end I said yes. At first it was really intimidating. Being in a formal meeting with important people going through agendas, minutes and issues arising was weird and I didn’t know how I would fit in. It is something that I would normally never do. The more meetings I went to however, the more comfortable I felt and the other people were really nice and seemed like they liked my ideas and opinions. It was also interesting to see how formal meetings are run. It feels good that I made a contribution and I now feel more confident to step up into more leadership roles.  I would definitely recommend other students take the chance to be involved if they are asked.” Zyhannah

Zyhannah’s ideas and opinions were highly valued by the committee and as a result of her contributions the Council has agreed to support the College in running a “Miss NAIDOC” type of event where students will model clothes and speak about their background and what is important to them in a public forum

“Jamie Morris, Program Coordinator and Zyhannah have been instrumental in assisting the NAIDOC Working Group plan activities for this years NAIDOC event.  In addition, Zyhannah has also encouraged her peers at school to be participate in both the City’s and BCC’s NAIDOC events this year and she is also leading the school’s internal NAIDOC activities, while also balancing school and other activities. The City of Belmont NAIDOC Working Group are grateful for Zyhannah’s contribution and creative ideas to assist us in creating an event that reflects community’s needs.” Community Development Belmont City Council Coordinator Amina Currimboy