Sasha Deenathayalan, 18, was announced as a recipient of the One Wyndham award last month. Every month, Wyndham council selects a resident aged between 12 and 25 to receive the award, which recognises young people who positively contribute to the community and are role models to other youths. Sasha chats with Alesha Capone.
How did you react when you heard you would receive the One Wyndham award?
I was very surprised and I am very grateful. I looked at the previous participants and I know a few, because I have met them at multiple events. I know how well-accredited they are.
How did you come to serve as a member of the Wyndham West District Advisory Committee?
I was on the committee during its 2018 and 2019 terms, from February to December, for two years. I was the committee’s youngest-ever member. I was attending the local Youth Services every second week and a youth worker there showed me the expression of interest card for joining the committee. I thought, ‘Why not, the worst thing that can happen is that I may not get on the committee.” I also thought it would be a good experience is getting interviewed.
I understand you became something of a youth spokesperson on the committee, is that right?
I didn’t set out to become a youth spokesperson. But I ended up being the only person under the age of 30 on the committee. One of the priorities of the Wyndham West District Advisory Committee was engaging with young people and a lot of the members turned to me when there were matters related to youth. There was also a teacher on the committee, so she could speak about that too. A lot of it is trying to get young people involved in things, but sometimes that is hard.
You have also volunteered at other Wyndham events?
During my time on the committee, I was asked if I wanted to get involved in community clean-up days, in which NatureWest was involved. Some people said, ‘Let’s start doing a clean-up around the Manor Lakes area’ and we organised a couple of events to do that. I have also volunteered with Wyndham Youth Services, at events like the Winter Street Party in Werribee.
What do you enjoy about volunteering?
I love helping people, I have always thought it is one of my strengths – there is a quality in me, that I love to help people.
You were school captain this year and you have also finished year 12. What’s next?
My initial plan is to go to university to do a double-degree, hopefully in law and international studies.
For more information about the One Wyndham Youth Services award, see: www.wyndham.vic.gov.au/services/youth-services/awards-competitions/one-wyndham