Emily Ryan from Coonamble in Western NSW might only be 21 but she’s already kicked some major goals.
She is the youngest ever recipient of the 2016 NSW RAS Rural Achiever Award, a member of both Gulargambone and Coonamble Show Societies and was a delegate at the 2016 Rotary Young Leaders Summit in South Korea.
And while that might make some of us feel like we need a breather Emily is also completing her Bachelor of Education at University of New England and working as a special needs teacher’s aide in her home town.
Emily, who is now in her third year of study, is being supported the CEF Local Grants program. Her local foundation in Coonamble have provided Emily with financial support to make her dream of becoming a teacher a reality.
I’ve always wanted to be a teacher, for as long as I can remember. But heading off to uni from a small town is a big step, both financially and emotionally.
Emily said she was so excited when she received news her local CEF would be supporting her. “I am so grateful for the support I am receiving, it’s making a big contribution to my degree.
“The first year of support helped me move and get set up in Armidale. Then, at the beginning of my second year my dad was diagnosed with cancer and I moved back to Coonamble to support my family and take care of my younger brother and sister while mum and dad went to the city for his treatment.
“It was great to be able to use my CEF funds to get home internet and equipment to keep up with my studies during this time.”
Emily’s dad’s treatment was successful and he has been given the all-clear. This year Emily’s grant is helping her pay for practical materials and attend her teaching placements.
The support has really opened up opportunities for me. It’s helped me get to uni and see what’s possible when you have access to education. Education really is the key for young people in rural and regional Australia.
Emily’s passion for her local community is infectious and makes it easy to see why she has been chosen to represent NSW at the 2017 National Rural Ambassador Awards.
“My opportunities to travel as a RAS Ambassador and Rotary Young Leader have taught me some great leadership, networking and community engagement skills. But every time I travel I can’t wait to get home to Coonamble. To me, this place is the meaning of the word community and is the reason I am so passionate about getting more young people involved in their local communities.”
Give the gift of education and help more young Australians on their way to bright futures this Christmas by donating to CEF’s Christmas Appeal.