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A Growing Advocate

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A Growing Advocate

Amplify Blog

Engagement Support Officer Jessy speaks about the voice of young people. 


“It’s your choice!” – Three words that would change my life

My name is Jessy Renouf (21) and I am a proud Gubbi Gubbi, Finnish woman. I have adopted a lot of labels in my life such as being a daughter, a friend, a worker but more and more recently I have taken on the label as a youth advocate. When I think back on my advocacy journey, I realise I started when I was extremely young because of my parents.

I grew up in a small family, my mum, dad and me. Growing up, I was an extremely curious kid, always asking why and wanting to learn; including the power of my voice.

I remember like a lot of kids, picking out my clothes and deciding what toy to play with, but now, I realise this was only the beginning and it was truly deeper than this. There were so many instances where I advocated for myself with the help from my parents.

A significant memory I have, was being given a choice to do gymnastics. My mum was an incredible woman and before I was born was an amazing gymnast and gymnast coach. She would have loved for me to do gymnastics following in her footsteps, however in all my life never forced me to do gymnastics and gave me a safe space to choose to do it or not do it. As a young child, I really enjoyed stunts and performing so I chose to do gymnastics. When I started growing and competitions got more and more competitive, I was always given the support and opportunity to continue or to try something else. At the young age of 8, I came to my own conclusion that I wanted to stop gymnastics because even though I enjoyed it, I wanted to focus on my schoolwork which I thought was getting harder (boy did I have a long road coming).

Whenever I think of this memory, I always laugh because at such a young age I advocated for what I wanted to do, I was given the opportunity of choice and encouragement and love no matter what decision I came to.

Growing on this further, I remember when I was deciding where to go to high school. When I was deciding which high school to go to, my parents did not tell me what I should or should not do but gave me the different options and allowed for me to make an informed decision. It was a collaboration not a one-sided lecture. They told me, “It’s your choice!”

These three words have helped me grow into who I truly am. It has helped me to understand the power of listening and collaborating with others. My parents unconsciously helped me to choose my own path in my life and become independent while still supporting me.

If we can work collaboratively with young people and allow them to make their own choices, they can choose their own path and be empowered by it rather than having decisions made for them without any consultation. This not only allows a conversation, but a supportive connection and better outcomes for both parties.

Thank you, Mum and Dad, for everything you have done for me. Whether it was conscious or Unconscious, you have helped me to stay curious, know the power of my voice and help me on my advocacy journey.