A lesson in you won’t know till you ask.
The Ethnic Youth Advisory Group which I was so excited about becoming a part of has a recently renewed significance in my eyes*. Before I explain why, here are some facts.
- EYAG stands for Ethnic Youth Advisory Group and was an initiative started by the Ethnic Youth At Risk working group (which in strictly government speak is also a Co-Organisation group, as in it incorporates members from various organisations)
- EYAG was formed in November 2004
- EYAG’s objective/desired effect is to advice State government on issues related to ethinc youth as well as to provide suggestions on how to overcome these issues
- EYAG has members from a variety of ethnic communities in WA (Western Australia)
So, as I was saying, renewed significance. I joined EYAG when my buddy Shamz and I met with the two instrumental people at OMI (the Office of Multicultural Interests) who helped pave the way for the establishment of MYWA (URL will be provided when its ready) and continue to serve as our mentors. They asked us to be part of EYAG and thus contribute a muslim youth perspective to the dealings.
I’ve been an EYAG member since October last year (give or take a few months) and have only now realised its unrealised potential. EYAG is to you what you choose to make of it. I, along with fellow EYAGers have been involved in assisting State government in issues such as ethnic youth involvement in sport and rec, making information accessible to ethnic youth, issues concerning ethnic (from my piont of view, Muslim) youth and possible remedies.
As per the nature of all things voluntary, we don’t meet very much, just once a month. I’m happy to report though that this isn’t due to waning support. Many EYAG members are active members within their resident communities and work/study or work and study full time. Our facilitator for example is the Youth Advisor at the Ethnic Communities Council and works full time as well as doing something at uni, what, I don’t know exactly. But suffice to say he’s a great guy with lots to contribute and effective ways of doing so.
We were also advised that the newly appointed Minister for Youth (as well as Multicultural Interests, Women’s Interests, Disability Services and Citizenship) has requested a meeting with EYAG. Exciting news, though strangely disconcerting when you’re not 100% sure on what its all about. I got to thinking what EYAG stood for and specifically why I continued to be involved in it, because monthly meetings don’t uphold the fervour you may sporadically feel.
I’m doing this while trying to get our little association up and running (MYWA). I’m looking for resources like, people, opportunities and literature I can use to further my cause**. So I ask the questions, I get some answers and am able to consolidate what EYAG is and how it can be used. Other than being a source of advice to the government, we’re also a very strong and untapped network that branches into the many and varied communities in Perth. This then links us to the greater ethnic communities, globally but more specifically through the contacts at OMI we are able to tap into a network of community and government organisations that can benefit invidual community needs extensively. Its just a matter of asking.
Perth, is a small city, we all know that but we don’t know the potential its hiding and with the resources available, we really could do something signifcant to address community and therefore social needs. So really, I have this entire untapped network I can call upon to facilitate the establishment of **. Its great!
Through my association with EYAG and OMI, I’ve been involved with Media Steering Committees, Media Training Workships, Facilitating Youth Interfaith Workshops, Harmony Week excitment, the National Client and Student Voice Action Group forum, the ECC… and you know really, the list could carry on, if I let it. I’m feeling so energised by these new possibilities. And all I needed to do was ask.
Come on the EYAG!