NORTHERN Grampians Shire Council's Youth and Community Development Officer Amy Rhodes has been announced as the winner of the 2014 Sally Isaac Memorial Scholarship Fund.
The Fund awards an annual $10,000 scholarship to further the education of a young woman, aged 35 or younger, who makes a significant contribution to the Victorian community.
Fourteen outstanding women were nominated for this year's award which was presented at LG Pro's annual Women's Network Dinner at the Melbourne Park Function Centre last Thursday evening.
At just 27, Ms Rhodes has achieved more than most women her age. Passionate about improving opportunities for young people living in rural and regional Australia, she has dedicated much of her professional and personal life to youth-related projects.
As part of her current position, Ms Rhodes established the Northern Grampians Shire's first ever Youth Action Council (YAC).
She has also made a significant contribution to raising awareness of mental health through her role as a speaker and ambassador for beyondblue.
A past Heywire winner and mentor, Ms Rhodes was recently selected as one of just five Australian delegates for Youth 20, the official youth engagement group of the G20.
Northern Grampians Shire Council chief executive officer, Justine Linley said Ms Rhodes was a fantastic ambassador for local government.
"Amy's passion and dedication to improving the lives of young people within her community is commendable and make her a role model for her peers," she said.
"Her involvement in significant national and regional projects, including Y20 and Heywire, has equipped her with the skills needed to relate to, and communicate with, young people.
"Amy embodies all that a young woman leader should be, and is a deserving winner of the LGPro Sally Isaac Memorial Scholarship Fund Award."
Ms Rhodes said she would use the scholarship to undertake study in the field of youth mental health.
"Mental illness is a growing concern, particularly in rural Australia," she said.
"Having more young people trained in dealing with mental health issues is key to improving outcomes for rural youth.
"I am looking forward to sharing the knowledge gained from this further education with others in the community, including members of the Youth Action Council, so that all members of the community can continue to be educated on what mental illness is and how to help someone who might be in need."