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Meet the Youth Councillors – Samah Khalil

Meet the Youth Councillors – Samah Khalil

My journey becoming a youth councillor started all the way back in 2014, I was in year 9 at North Chadderton School and I saw an opportunity to run in an election and become a youth councillor. I ran in the election but did not get enough votes. It was a year later when I discovered the Youth Council champion group ( a group of non – elected young people that work with the youth council on our campaigns. I ran again for the youth council elections in 2016 and was finally elected as a youth councillor representing the Chadderton district of Oldham. My youth council journey has been a great one . Since starting in 2016, I have been blessed with many amazing experiences including creative consultation training ,the opportunity to plan and run campaigns , attend regional youth council meetings and participate in meetings to decide which groups for young people in Oldham can receive grants from the Kerrching fund. The world of giving young people a voice was new to me but it was exciting . I have always loved the idea of young people influencing the things that both affect and matter to us. A few months after I started I then got elected into my first ever role at the youth council – secretary. I learnt how to write and take minutes and take responsibility. As time went on I think I must have put my hand up to go to almost every event the youth council were invited to. I was eager to do what I came for, to represent young people in Oldham in any way I could. The thing about me is if I am passionate about something, I will put everything into it. So that’s exactly what I did and youth council became my life, ( the civic centre is now my second home). In January 2017, I then was fortunate to fly to Poland and see Aushwitz and Birkenau, as part of our discrimination campaign. An experience I will never forget and am extremely grateful to have had. We came back from Poland and used the knowledge we had to organise a conference for all young people in Oldham to attend ( another significant experience of my time here) A couple of weeks later , to my amazement, I was elected Deputy Member of Youth Parliament ( one of the highlights of my youth council journey) . I felt so blessed and words couldn’t express my gratitude to all my fellows youth councillors that elected me. I had admired UKYP since the first time I had watched UKYP House of Commons debate, to know that someday that could be me was so thrilling . In June that year , to my compete astonishment, my fellow youth councillors then elected me as Vice Chair. It felt like a dream , in fact I still can’t believe it but I am determined to make everyone who voted for me ,and everyone who didn’t, extremely proud! Another highlight in my youth council journey was the recent Votes at 16 where we worked with our MP, Jim McMahon on his Private Members bill. Knowing he has so much faith in Oldham Youth Council that he was willing to co-write his ( once in a lifetime shot) Private Members Bill, was so humbling and only reinforced my aspiration to do the youth council proud . Even though we didn’t get enough time to debate votes at 16 , hearing the Youth Council mentioned in the Houses of Parliament by MP’s on BOTH sides was amazing – definitely one of the top ten proud moments at YC! There are not enough words to express my gratitude for all the opportunities I have been given since starting at the youth council. Oldham Youth Council has empowered me. It has shown me that in either small meetings or big campaigns (like Votes at 16) , we are able as young people to make the voice of the young people we represent heard. It has become my life and my second home. It gave me purpose but more importantly than that, it gave me a place where I finally felt like I belonged. Today I become Chair and I know that there is even more opportunities I am yet to experience. I hope to impress everyone who has put their faith in me and to make Oldham Youth Councils name shine . I’d like to be the one to not only lead OYC but become the best role model( especially for the new elected members that arrive in April ), someone who is not afraid to speak their mind but also will alwyas respect and take everyone’s opinions into account. I am going to complete my role to the best of my ability and hopefully leave a legacy for whoever becomes my vice. In a couple of weeks I am then going to become Member of Youth Parliament , a role which will allow me to take young people’s voices from Oldham to Westminster . I know that I will give everything to make sure I do them justice and to make not only my Youth Council proud but every single young person in Oldham who we represent. Starting at Oldham Youth Council is most definitely one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

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