BUILDING CONFIDENCE: Kasey Ross wants more support for young people in the Central Highlands.
BUILDING CONFIDENCE: Kasey Ross wants more support for young people in the Central Highlands. Contributed

Teen helps others succeed

KASEY Ross is a teenager with a vision and a determination to help young people in Emerald receive the support and mentoring they need to "give life a go” when times are tough.

In January 16-year-old Kasey spent a week with 64 other young Queenslanders on the Gold Coast as part of PCYC's 2019 State Youth Leadership Camp.

The aim was to give young people the chance to challenge themselves and be part of an effort to build and better communities through youth development.

Kasey said the January retreat had allowed her to develop her leadership skills and she was hoping to inspire other young people in the region "to have a go”.

Kasey, who left school in Year 8 because of "dramas with other people” and bullying, said school-aged children often struggled with a range of problems and needed improved access to support services.

"They need support growing up, she said.

"They're getting older and school gets harder.”

After leaving school, Kasey began working with Anglicare Central Queensland's Youth Workers who encouraged her to finish her studies,

She began work experience with the PCYC last year and continues to do weekly work experience there while also completing her Year 11 studies through the Charters Towers School of Distance Education.

Kasey is a role model for other indigenous students.

She said she wanted to share her story to encourage other young people who were disengaged, feeling unsupported, or were dealing with cyber bullying to reach out for help.

Anglicare Central Queensland's Youth Support program helps young people who are at risk of disengaging from school, family or community, homeless or at risk of self harm, however, Kasey said there wasn't enough support for youth in Emerald.

"In Emerald we really don't have much support for young indigenous people.”

She said she enjoyed being part of a network of people striving to help young indigenous people in the area because she understood their culture.

She said it was important young people were able to build their confidence levels while being encouraged to talk about any issues bothering them.

She would like to see a headspace centre established in Emerald as part of a bid to offer more youth support.

"And then, because they're not worried about what's on Facebook, they can talk to a real person,” she said.

Anglicare youth worker Julie Saunders said she was "really proud” of Kasey.

"She's come a really long way since I first met her and she first disengaged from school.”

Ms Saunders said Kasey and her determination was an example to others that there were always ways of completing an education and "making a go of life” even if you're not at school.

"She is an example that a good attitude and hard work does pay off.”

Ms Saunders said she'd "definitely” like to see more support services available in Emerald, especially with a focus on mental health.

"We're limited resource- wise.

"A headspace in Emerald would be amazing.”

She said it was crucial to help young people who were "just dealing with the pressures of life in general” to find a way forward.

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