Better Together is a series about young people who are doing good things and the people that inspire and motivate them to get it done. Maybe it’s your best friend, a teacher at school or a mentor. Doesn’t need to be fancy. Whoever it is they got your back.
We all want a person in our lives who invests the time and effort to support, guide and inspire us, right? Meet Caleb. Meet Rosie. Caleb is lucky enough to have someone like that. His friend and mentor, Rosie Thomas.
We chatted to Caleb Maru, one of the 2016 Young Social Pioneers to see who his go to person is – the person who is there to support him, inspire him and be a constant soundboard for his ideas.
Even though Caleb is currently living and studying Law and International relations at University in Adelaide, Caleb calls Alice Springs home. “Growing up in Alice Springs was a really unique experience and changed my perspective on a lot of things,” Caleb says.
Caleb loves finding the the best in people – whether he is encouraging friends to try things they wouldn’t usually do or involving them in new experiences, even if it challenges them. Whatever it is, he finds it inspiring to see people grow into the best version of themselves.
In saying this, his main passion is defeating prejudice and creating conversations among young people about issues that are normally swept under the rug.
This ties directly into his YSP project, the Aware Project.
Caleb started the Aware Project after realising that a lot of people, including himself, didn’t really understand what young people in and around his life were dealing with. The Aware project provides a platform for young Australians to talk about what is afflicting them whilst also learning from others experiences.
“Every month we discuss a different topic. Last month we focused on gender equality, the month before was Asylum seekers. It’s good to spend time on each topic as it allows us to have the opportunity to discuss it in depth. I hope that through this project, people can begin to understand each other better through sharing experiences and stories – both are so powerful and give a unique perspective of young people.”
Like Caleb, his mentor Rosie is passionate about defeating prejudice and empowering young people to stand up and lead change. Rosie, a social justice junkie and co-founder of Australia’s youth-driven anti-bullying and leadership organisation PROJECT ROCKIT, is committed to providing totally innovative opportunities for young people to realise their potential.
Not only is she smashing it in the sector, she is also supporting and guiding Caleb through his endeavours with the Aware Project.
“Rosie has provided so many opportunities for me. The Aware Project wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for her. She pushes me to continue doing and to keep moving forward.”
In fact, Caleb originally interviewed Rosie for the platform. He learnt from Rosie that “when you see an injustice, you can’t let that pass. You have to stand up and do something about it. It is your duty as a human to call it out, even if no one else is.” Her interview changed the way he thought about a lot of things and inspired him to continue creating change.
Caleb has learnt a lot of things from Rosie, but the biggest thing he has learnt is through their mentor/mentee relationship. “I have learnt so much from Rosie but a massive thing for me has been that she has invested so much time and energy into supporting me. It’s so clear that she has invested in me as a person and not just my project, which is so cool. It’s always how are you going? Not how is your project going. You don’t always get mentors like that,” Caleb says.
It’s not every day that you find two people who are so passionate about the same issues and driven to create an impact in the world. What a dream.
It’s fair to say Caleb and Rosie definitely are better together.
*Note: Say thank you to the special people in your life who are there to back you 100%. The ones who inspire us, support us and most all of all challenge us so we can grow into our best potential.