Ned Narouz: Rap 4 Change: Westfield Local Heroes 2019

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Ned Narouz: Rap 4 Change: Westfield Local Heroes 2019

Using lived experience to keep young people safe

Caring. Dedicated. Selfless

Ned Narouz felt lost when he was growing up and he knows from experience how vital a mentor can be for young people who are struggling through the juvenile justice system.

As the founder of Rap 4 Change, the volunteer uses music, creativity and sport to tackle substance abuse, self-harm, bullying and racism.

“I am able to build a good connection with the young people and help educate them on life skills and how to achieve success the right way,” says Ned, who was released from juvenile detention at the age of seventeen and was lucky enough to find his own mentor.

Ned’s mentor taught him the value of hard work and chasing big goals.

Now he is giving back with Rap 4 Change, which offers school-wellbeing programs, hip-hop lessons, mentoring, sporting activities and counselling to youth in juvenile detention – all on a shoestring budget.

He feels proud to be voted a Westfield Local Hero for his good work, and believes the community support reflects well on everyone at Rap 4 Change, which he established in 2016.

It’s all about encouraging young people to make positive choices in their lives, and showing them how it can be done, says Ned.

“Growing up, I was lost,” he says. “People were telling me to do things like go to school or get a job, but my mentor was the first person to explain why those things are worth doing.”

In 2018, Ned was named Blacktown’s Australia Day Citizen of The Year and he has completed a Community Services Certificate at Mt Druitt TAFE.

Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation.

Rap 4 Change will use its grant to fund a ten-week leadership program called Ready For Success. The aim is to create education, employment and life skills opportunities for up to twenty young people at a time.

“With the help of the grant, we will be helping people who are either at risk of going into juvenile detention or just coming out of it,” Ned says.

For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here.

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