Trust board takes on first youth member

Cambridge High student Jessica Robertson-Timmins is representing her generation on the Cambridge Community Charitable Trust.

Cambridge High School Year 13 student, Jessica Robertson-Timmins, has become the first student representative appointed to the Cambridge Community Charitable Trust.

The 17-year-old’s skillset, particularly in the social media and IT space, made her a good fit, said Trust chairman David Cooney.  The decision to bring a young person onto the Trust was based around a desire to seek the youth perspective on their community, he said.

“We wanted to find out how they could add to the prosperity and welfare of our community. Too often trusts and boards are made up of older people with very set views. We did not want to be like that, as we feel engaging with youth has real benefits, not only for our Trust, but also for the community as a whole.”

The Cambridge Community Charitable Trust (CCCT) existed previously under the umbrella of Rotary but was re-branded as an independent trust earlier this year, complete with a new logo designed by another Cambridge High Student, Samantha Wallace.

At that stage, David said he hoped to strengthen the Trust’s relationship with Cambridge High School through the appointment of a senior student as an honorary trustee. “We want to work more closely with the high school and support young people to get started in their chosen careers.”

Jessica was one of four CHS students selected and put forward by the school.  “Last year, those of us keen to take on a senior leadership position at the school were asked to write a resumé – we had no idea at the time what it was for. Included in mine was my involvement as a volunteer with Cambridge i-SITE, and with several groups such as CHS Leos and CHS Rotary interns.

“Later, some of us went through to an interview with the Trust, where we were questioned about what we thought we could bring in terms of new ideas.  I was selected and attended my first meeting in March.”

Since then, Jessica has been involved in initiatives that introduce trades at a junior level, and then support students opting for a trade as a career pathway. She is also helping create a brochure on the Trust and is involved in setting up a Trust Facebook page.

“That one is still at the developmental stage … once it’s done, their activities will get to a much wider audience than before,” she said. “I’m really enjoying representing young people on the Trust.  Their members are very influential people who are interested in what people of my generation are thinking. They have been very open to hearing the ideas I’ve brought to the meetings.”

David said Jessica stood out as someone who Trust members could relate to and work with. “She has skills that the other trustees don’t and brings a new perspective and energy to the group.”

Jessica’s tenure with the Trust is for a year.  Early next year, she plans to go to Victoria University of Wellington to do a three-year Bachelor of Health degree.

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