Youth advocacy a focus for award recipient
JAMES Wright is Byron's Young Citizen of the Year.
He has volunteered with BUDDI for the Byron Schoolies Safety Response over the past six years.
In this role he has provided help to young people every day and night throughout the Schoolies period.
For two years, he's been in hub supervisor to help co-ordinate and induct new volunteers.
He's been involved with year-round volunteer work with the Community Drug Action Team, managed by BUDDI, along with other initiatives.
He's also been involved with Byron's Young First Offenders program, Restorative Pathways, Youth Chill Zones at festivals.
Mr Wright said he felt honoured to receive the award.
He said his involvement with the organisations had begun as a young person witnessing the challenges faced by Byron youth.
He said he was pleased "to be able to work with young people in our community who are at a disadvantage" due to a range of issues, with services "geared toward young people".
At the awards, Mr Wright thanked his family for his support, and youth worker Nicqui Yazdi.
"(Nicqui) was the first person I ever met when I was in programs at the youth service," Mr Wright said.
"I'd like to thank you so much for pushing me continuously to just move to a different level in everything that I do, because honestly I wouldn't be standing here without that support and that encouragement."
Mr Wright said young people in Byron "face a lot of issues", including having a high rate of disengagement in education.
"There's a lot of drug use in this community and there's a lot of access to drugs in this community," he said.
He said it was important for him to work with those young people.
"It's a close thing to my heart, I grew up in this community," he said.
"I'm so proud to … have the opportunities to work in these areas and advocate for young people."
Mr Wright was accepted on to the board of directors for the Byron Youth Service and the Byron Youth Activities Centre in December 2017.