The evening began with students and supporters sharing stories over rice paper rolls, dumplings and traditional lamb and herb pies at the home of the Doggies. Although the program concluded in July, there was still a lot to talk about, community projects to catch up on and advice to share. After five months of training and community projects who could blame them!
Project coordinators Eva and Katerina spoke about the field trip to the Yarra River, camp to the Strzelecki Ranges and community projects were revisited with a little help from some of the 2,000 or more photos taken over the program. Kelly O’Shanassy, CEO of Environment Victoria said that the program had a special significance, and was “one of my favourite programs”.
Parul, of the Footscray group, shared a speech about what saving the environment meant to her. She wore a scarf made entirely out of old jumpers, and encouraged people to use paper wisely, “every piece of paper you use took ten litres of water to make”. Later on in the evening, Sara, of St Albans tested the crowd’s knowledge of what goes in their bin, with the crowd shocked to find out that forty-five per-cent of the waste in their bin was food!
Margot Hennessy, Coordinator of the AMES Youth Programs addressed the crowd and said that the program “developed the confidence and skills in young people”.
She encouraged participants to use their skills and speak about their experiences:
“It is important and related us to our land… We teach society and community,” Biruk.
And about the future:
“I would like to think we save our lives, our children’s lives and our children’s children’s lives,” Tam.
Participants were presented with their certificates, and vowed to keep in touch via facebook!