AGM 2015 speech: Margaret Tran

I would like begin by acknowledging that we are gathered on the land of the Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin nations and that we pay respects to their elders past, present and future.

Good morning ladies and gentlemen,

It is with my great honour that I quote one of my favourite authors, Dr.Seuss, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not.”

This quote stood out for me as I have realised that things get done in the world by people who care, who try, and who give their best to what they are doing. When you look around, you will see that if no one cared an awful lot, not many things would get done and nothing will have ever improved. I have learnt that it is easy not to care about things, because a whole lot of things need changing and it can be overwhelming, but if you focus your attention on one thing, you can make a measureable difference. So, I promised myself that I would do everything I could to improve the lives of others in any way possible.

The Newsboys Foundation has been improving the lives of others since 1893. This organisation has allocated more than $16 million to support young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, whether they be from low-socioeconomic status families; Indigenous, rural or regional youth; asylum seekers and refugees; the unemployed or young people struggling with education.

I can truly say that the Newsboys Foundation has helped me to be the person that I am today. Last year, after winning the Youth Leadership Award, I was granted $5000 to help fund my learning both academically and socially. The bulk of the award has contributed to my World Challenge trip to North India, which in fact, I will be flying off to tomorrow. It will be a jam-packed journey filled with lots of learning curbs and team building. I will be hiking in Uttarakhand for a week on the Rantham Pass trek where I will experience the many joys of nature. The journey to North India will allow me to work with 36 primary school children in the local community of Buggad. Here, we will do some informal teaching; play sports and introduce some fun games to the children. We will help to create a more sustainable water supply by helping to install gutters and pipes at individual houses as water supply is very limited in these areas. Unfortunately, there is no local recycling or even waste collection facilities, so litter often ends up clogging water channels and being a health hazard to local people and animals. Therefore, we will also be creating brick incinerators to burn the rubbish to reduce the masses of rubbish.

Some of the grant was also used to digitally publish a VicSRC Environmental Kit which my two friends and I wrote, developed and designed.. It is a guide for students and teachers around Victoria to gain access to information about the best opportunities and organisations that promote sustainable action within schools. This resource has been shared with all schools in Victoria.

So thank you, Newsboys, for giving me such a thrilling ride over the past 12 months with such an array of leadership and learning opportunities. A special thanks to Zich and Sandy who have been so supportive of my journey. Also, good luck to Roghayeh Sadeghi, the recipient for the 2015 Newsboys Foundation Youth Leadership Award.

Once again, I quote Dr.Seuss, “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.”  This year has taught me to be myself because essentially, there will never be anyone who is more you than you. No one else can think for you, can do work for you, and experience happiness for you, it is all up to you, and you put your own mark on your life. So, ladies and gentlemen, remember to be proud of who you are and do not be afraid to shine. Do not be afraid to try your best. Do not be afraid to change the world and to help others. But most importantly, do not be afraid to control your own future.

Thank you.