Commendation for Taree High student

Greater Taree's young citizen of the year, Amani Jensen-Bentley will receive a certificate from Dame Marie Bashir later this month.

Greater Taree's young citizen of the year, Amani Jensen-Bentley will receive a certificate from Dame Marie Bashir later this month.

ONE of Taree's brightest young social leaders is set to be recognised for her outstanding contributions to the community.

Taree High School student Amani Jensen-Bentley will receive a 2014 Marie Bashir Peace Award Highly Commended Certificate during an awards ceremony at NSW Parliament House next month.

The fifth annual awards are presented by the National Council of Women of New South Wales, and recognise Year 10 to Year 12 girls' contributions to harmony, social justice and peace, and their leadership in that area.

The Year 12 student was nominated for her contribution to her school and wider community over a number of years.

Seventeen-year-old Amani's sense of social responsibility began five years ago, with the help and organisation of her school's annual Spirit Cup, an event which fosters positive relations between students of different age and peer groups.

The young social advocate has always been inspired to make a difference in the world, starting with her immediate community.

"I've always had an interest in the wider world, and what would influence a small rural area like Taree, and what I could do to make people aware of the different cultures, beliefs and nationalities," she said.

And this motivation to make a difference has been inspired by a certain former South African leader who passed away last year.

"Nelson Mandela has been a big inspiration for me, as what he did was so unheard of because he was so brave," she said.

"And for someone to stand up for a race of people and take the burden was such a selfless act."

Miss Jensen-Bentley's contributions to the Taree community have been chanelled through a number of different avenues.

One of her major contributions was as a member of the 'Africa comes to the Manning Valley' Great Lakes Agency for Peace and Development International, a non-profit, non-religious, non-political agency promoting harmony among refugees and migrants from the Great Lakes regions of Africa.

The current Greater Taree City Council Young Citizen of the Year has also organised 'Friendship Field Trips' for young African migrants, a youth movie night to promote understanding of cultural diversity, and has had her photographs of rural Australia and Morocco exhibited at the African festival at Taree Community College.

The Taree High School vice-captain has also been a Youth Blood Ambassador for the Red Cross and led local students in the World Vision 40 Hour Famine.

Her Excellency Professor the Honourable Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO will present Miss Jensen-Bentley with her award on Monday, September 22 at the NSW Parliament House.