The new ARA Youth Ambassadors had their first official gathering on May the 15th with 18 students and staff from 8 SA high schools, as well as ARA’s Peer Leaders, connecting via a group zoom meeting. Each student was asked to share about why they were motivated to join the program and also a little bit about their background. This provided plenty of conversation for the hour and was the first time that a number of the students had used zoom and shared about themselves in a group setting, especially with students they had never met before.
A strength of the Youth Ambassador program is that it creates an opportunity for students to connect across cultures and socio-economic demographics. The importance being in making genuine friendships with people from completely different life experiences in order to personalise large and often confusing issues around refugee settlement.
We have arranged to have a group zoom meeting every month with the aim of engaging every school and student that has expressed interest in the program. For the next meeting we have invited a guest speaker, Gulima Wahidi who is a young law student and ARA volunteer to share her experiences around embracing new challenges.
Each week students receive an email update from Carly Squire, program coordinator, containing relevant links, videos and information to further their understanding of the global refugee situation and to help engage them in the key questions and broader conversation.
Leading up to refugee week students will be invited to contact an national or international guest speaker with the purpose of creating a webinar for their peers. This experience will help develop their leadership and advocacy skills within the online framework that they now have to work within.
Students will be able to achieve their 10 SACE Stage 1 credit points through the YA program with a stronger emphasis on research, IT skill development and various methods of communication.
Depending on the current state of restrictions at the time, the annual Youth Ambassador camp is tentatively booked for the end of November with a focus on friendship building, leadership development and celebrating their year’s work.
Our Peer Leaders are engaged in the program through the zoom meetings and in an advisory role for the program. We are exploring different ways that they can encourage the new students to share their ideas and perspectives. Claudetta Niyera joined Carly in making a short recorded interview for a local high school which has been shared with our students and partnering schools. Please take the time to view on the below link.