A MURAL designed to empower young members of the LGBTI community is a finalist in a coveted statewide award for students.
Kye, who attends Hunter River High School, developed the concept from a design on the social media photo sharing site, Instagram, to challenge some stubborn perceptions of gender in Raymond Terrace.
“It’s my hope that this will mean there’s less discrimination here,” the Year 8 student said.
“I cried myself to sleep every night in the last week before I had to turn it in.”
He completed the projected as part of the Youth Frontiers program designed to build confidence and life skills among Year 8 and 9 students. The students work with mentors and their work is assessed on its potential to bring about positive change in their community.
Kye’s interactive mural is designed to encourage all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, to write down who their lesbian, gay, bisexual, or intersex hero is.
“A lot of people have written my name,” Kye said.
“But I don’t think of myself as a hero.”
The mural was carefully painted at The Deck (youth drop-in centre) for maximum impact.
“It was all Kye’s idea but I’m really happy that I could help him do it,” year 12 student Mahaylia said, of her work with Kye.
Students from Hunter River High turned in 10 completed projects last week.
The school’s community liaison officer, Kylie Magin, said Year 8 and 9 students were encouraged to take part in the YWCA initiative (YWCA previously having been known as the Young Women’s Christian Association).
“The YWCA’s Youth Frontiers program builds students’ skills and self-esteem while playing a direct practical role in supporting the community,” Ms Magin said.
Since term two this year the students have worked on projects, individually or in pairs, that included; promoting local mental health services; supporting teenage girls in getting into sport; producing an anti-bullying video; working with a local domestic violence agency; and turning rubbish into art, recycling with the council.
“After taking part in last year’s pilot program, and seeing the success of this year’s participation, we’re hoping it’ll become a fixture at Hunter River High – you couldn’t get a clearer case of students helping themselves by helping others,” Ms Magin said.
Youth Frontiers is a youth mentoring program funded by the NSW Department of Education and Communities and administered through NSW Family and Community Services.
The young people with the most innovative and effective community projects will be recognised with a number of awards in Term 4.