GIVING people a place where they can express themselves and be free from discrimination and violence is Shane Hernan’s passion.
Mr Hernan, 23, will today receive Warrnambool City Council’s 2013 Australia Day youth citizen award.
He said getting involved and giving to the community was important to him.
“Participating in the community is something I love doing,” he said.
“I love helping out. This still hasn’t sunk in.” Mr Hernan has been a member of numerous youth-led local and statewide groups to actively support young people and the wider community to address issues of discrimination and violence.
In his role as a youth mentor for Youth United Making Change Against Homophobia (YUMCHA), Mr Hernan undertakes education, support and advocacy on behalf of marginalised youth, working alongside Brophy Family and Youth Services to deliver programs for schools and the wider community.
“I think it’s important to create a place where young people feel free to express themselves and not be discriminated against,” he said.
“It’s about supporting people who are discriminated against because of their gender or sexual orientation.”
Mr Hernan grew up in Warrnambool and is studying a diploma of community services. He is a member of the Kulcha Shift Events Crew, and has been involved in the planning, delivery and evaluation of a series of music and cultural events for the past four years.The project, supported by Brophy, involves working with disadvantaged youth to create safe opportunities to come together and enjoy local music and creative activities, including the current Colour the Constabulary mural with Warrnambool police.
Mr Hernan is also the co- chair of the Way Out Rural Youth Council, a youth-led group which advocates for young people who are gay or transgender in delivering services and advice from a state level.