A Border teenager recognised for his volunteer work encourages all young people to become involved in leadership.
Eli Davern, 17, has won an Order of Australia NSW Youth Community Service Award after being nominated by his school Xavier High School.
Albury's youth mayor since April 2020, Eli said he was honoured, feeling the award acknowledged everyone who worked to make a difference for the city's young people.
"You don't do work for the community to get awards, you do it because you see things that aren't quite right and you want to get involved and fix them," he said.
"I think it's really important that young people are included in local government particularly because it's the closest level of government to the community, it's the closest level of government where we can actually have change.
"Opportunities are boundless for young people to get involved in leadership."
Projects he has helped to deliver include the Retro Connect Card, Retro Livestream, Clean Up Graffiti Day, Albury's youth strategy and the Gindaymanha Sports Carnival.
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Xavier High School assistant principal Andrew Gibson said Eli was "a fairly obvious nomination" when the school received information about the award and asked staff members for suggestions.
"His name came back a number of times as someone they felt would be a good nomination," Mr Gibson said.
"Here at school he's fairly active in raising community issues that might present, but also bringing in the wider community and highlighting issues to our school that might be wider issues.
"Trying to be proactive in finding solutions."
Preparing his nomination, the school learned Eli was active in more community projects than had been realised.
"We're really proud, really excited for him and happy for the fact that he'd been recognised for the work that he's doing," Mr Gibson said.
Eli thanked his school, fellow youth councillors and Albury Council for their support.
He praised the council's work with young people, for example consultation in the mountain bike strategy.
Witnessing such progress gave him the most satisfaction.
"Seeing young people included, seeing young people being made a part of the decision making, making young people a part of what's going on," he said.
His Order of Australia NSW Youth Community Service Award will be officially presented by NSW Governor, Margaret Beasley, at a virtual ceremony next month.
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