A strong voice

Just a few years ago Shaylyn Blyth, 17, did not expect to spark change nor the positive impact she has on those around her.
Now a strong voice for youth and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, the Woodend teen has been named one of Macedon Ranges’ Young Citizens of the Year.
Shaylyn is a founding member of the Pride Crew at Gisborne Secondary College, a youth ambassador for Macedon Ranges Shire Council and was previously a Live4Life crew member.
She has also inspired many through her work with Cobaw Community Health’s House of Awesome projects that aim to improve the mental health of LGBTQ+ young people.
Cobaw WayOut’s Mez Lanigan said Shaylyn had been a key contributor to many projects and had come a long way from the quiet girl she first met in 2016.
“She has become a real youth leader and encouraged disengaged youth and others to visit the groups we have (at Cobaw),” Ms Lanigan said.
“She’s reliable and dependable. Shay was one of the key people I would come back to for feedback to help improve Cobaw’s programs.”
Shaylyn won a Community Initiative award in Council’s Youth Awards in 2018. She was also recently a Young Leader on a three day Pride Camp run through Cobaw Community Health, and she doesn’t plan to slow her efforts.
“I’m really committed to making a difference,” Shaylyn said.
“It means a lot to get recognition but it’s not something that I expected. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy. I’m grateful for all the people in my life – my parents especially. I want to thank Mez: she has helped me blossom into the girl I am today.”
Shaylyn’s advice to young people is for them not be afraid to step out of their comfort zone.
“It’s something I have done many times and I’ve never regretted it. Life throws out a lot of opportunities and you have to take them,” she said.
Shaylyn aims to study law at university when she graduates year 12 at Gisborne Secondary College this year. In the meantime, her work with Cobaw and within the community will no doubt continue to inspire those around her.

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