By Esther Lauaki
Tharindu Jayadeva is doing his bit to make Wyndham a safe, inclusive and harmonious place for young people to live. The 26 year-old talks to Esther Lauaki about his work.
What’s your connection to Wyndham?
I’ve been connected to Wyndham most of my life through school, work and social commitments. While I live in Taylors Hill, I work for Headspace Werribee as a community awareness officer.
What are you passionate about?
I’m passionate about building awareness and capacity in our community around youth mental health. That means building a community that focuses on young people and aims to work through the challenges that they face.
What is your role at Headspace Werribee?
I’m a community awareness officer. I manage the health promotion in Werribee about youth mental health whether it be in schools, speaking to community groups or organisations. My role is about improving how we engage with youth, getting them to be more active, teaching them to advocate for their rights and responsibilities. It’s also about strengthening their cultural identity.
Will you be playing a part in this year’s Harmony Day?
Headspace Werribee will be working closely with Wyndham council and organisers to see how we can deliver events and social media campaigns around Harmony Day. We will be focusing on how we can share the stories of our young people in a way that showcases the diversity of Wyndham. We hope to be able to foster and bolster a safe and accepting community through Harmony Day.
Why do you believe Harmony day is so important?
Harmony Day [on March 21] coincides with the International Day for the Elimination of racial discrimination so we will be working to promote respectfulness. The day highlights the value of storytelling because everyone has a rich and valid story to tell. These stories are a great way that community can connect with each other.
What other hats do you wear in the Wyndham community?
I helped with the Park Lounge – a free event as part of the 2020 Midsumma Festival which was open to everyone to attend to celebrate inclusivity and visibility of the LGBTIQ+ community. Also, we ran Headspace Day to help raise awareness about our services. I visit schools to help students understand what mental health is.
What do you love about Wyndham?
Diversity is what makes this community so rich and colourful and a place to live.
What would you like to see improved?
I would like to see a holistic approach to supporting young people in our community.