‘Creative’ and ‘selfless’ are two words that have often been used to describe Zal Kanga-Parabia, an ECU Photomedia student who spends his time mentoring young artists and using his talents to help in the community.
Now Zal’s passion for the arts and volunteering in local projects has led to him being honoured at the WA Youth Awards, where he won in the Cultural Endeavours category.
The WA Youth Awards recognise young West Australians aged 12 to 25 years for their contributions to the community.
“This award represents the youth of Western Australia. This is a huge recognition for me and any young person looking to pursue something a little outside of the triangle,” he said.
“This is the recognition of a community that says yes to young people doing positive things. It's the recognition of a family within our society, one that wants to help and create change.”
“It is a stepping stone for me to amplify more voices from our youth.”
Earlier this year Zal received a commendation in the ECU Vice-Chancellor’s Student Awards for his charity work, including his participation in Home Is Where My Heart Is where he has mentored homeless youth in developing photography skills. He was also involved in creating the Faces of ECU Research exhibition, which is currently on display in Building 32 on Joondalup Campus.
CEO of the Youth Affairs Council of WA (YACWA), Craig Comrie, said Zal was a passionate and engaged mentor in the program and that he built respectful relationships with all the young people he mentored.
“It is a testament to his approach to working with young people based on mutual respect. He approaches things with no judgment, which is particularly suited to working with youth who have experienced homelessness.”
“This award was recognition of not just his commitment to the arts but particularly to young people in the arts.”
To find out more about YACWA or the WA Youth Awards, visit the YACWA website.