Changing the reputation of youth

Last updated 09:25 19/05/2014
Maggie Stavreva
DEREK FLYNN/FAIRFAX NZ
POSITIVE IMPACT: Marlborough district youth councillor Jonathan Cash.

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As part of youth week, the Marlborough Express is running a series on Marlborough district youth councillors. Today, Jonathan Cash, 17, of Blenheim, talks to Heather Simpson about the role of the youth council.

Why did you become a youth councillor?

I was asked to be a Marlborough district youth councillor in year 10 not knowing much about it but with more experience and with age I have really enjoyed it and definitely wouldn't give it up. I have also being trying to make a real difference in our community.

Which youth council achievement are you most proud of?

There are lots of things we have achieved that I am proud of. We spent five years developing a website - myvoicemarlborough. co.nz - which is a hub of information: driving, health, law, many different areas supporting a range of needs. It also has a fun section with videos, pickup lines and a monthly competition. This month it's a $50 iTunes voucher. We also support lots of youth organisations - peer support, SADD, Marlborough youth representing New Zealand. An area I really enjoy is the events we organise and run.

We have just finished the Marlborough youth quiz raising money for youth organisations. Our best event, I believe, was the Marlborough youth civic awards, similar to the Marlborough civic awards but aimed at youth and filled with a night showcasing the youth talent here in Marlborough.

As part of this year's theme ‘be the change', how can negative stereotypes of young people be addressed?

This has always been my goal. The main reason I continue to be a Marlborough district youth councillor is to change opinion on youth in Marlborough. I feel there are a lot of bad looks and thoughts towards youth with a few not really knowing how good we are.

A lot of people do look at us thinking we are no good and just ruining things but we are the future. We have great skills and talents which some people need to open their eyes and see. My personal goal and, I believe, the youth council's goal is to address this. We try to run events and showcase youth as much as possible - the intergenerational games were a huge success in 2012, getting youth to work with and interact with the older generation - and we are again running that event later this year. At the events we always try to involve youth in performances to show the talents as well as recognise the fantastic youth in Marlborough through the Marlborough youth civic awards.

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- The Marlborough Express

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