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Helping young Asia Pacific youth achieve their potential

Newly appointed chair of the Asia Pacific Youth Network Mitchell Johnson believes young people have an important role to play.

Mitchell Johnson (left) and a Timorese participant at a youth camp in Timor Leste last year.

In his new role as chair of the Red Cross Movement's Asia Pacific Youth Network, Mitchell Johnson wants to help young people from the Asia Pacific fulfil their potential with Red Cross.

"I'd like to raise the profile of this region - not just because it's an area where a lot of work is done in disaster response and relief, but also because there is so much passion and potential among the members. I want the rest of the organisation to know how amazing these young people are," he says.

Aged 28, Mitchell works as a resident doctor at Sunshine Hospital in Melbourne's outer suburbs. He has been a Red Cross Volunteer for the past five years - first at a retail shop, then as a Save a Mate volunteer and peer leader with the Refugee and Asylum Seeker Youth Program. He is a steering committee member with the Pacific Youth Network and he chaired the Victorian Youth Advisory Committee from 2011 to 2015.

Mitchell recalls a young man who he met at a youth volunteer camp in Timor Leste last year whose community had been a beneficiary of Red Cross development projects. By strengthening his community, these projects provided him with an opportunity to become a Red Cross Volunteer - and by gaining important skills as a volunteer he eventually went on to get a job with Red Cross.

"So he had gone from being a client to a volunteer to a staff member, all as a result of help Red Cross had delivered to his community. I think that just exemplifies the determination that so many young people have in this region," Mitchell says.