Dungog youth worker a semi finalist in Young Achiever Awards

SEMI FINALIST: Dungog's Sam Russell has been shortlisted for an award.
SEMI FINALIST: Dungog's Sam Russell has been shortlisted for an award.

Sam Russell is using his own stories and life experiences to give back to the community - and he has been named as a semi finalist in the prestigious 7NEWS Young Achiever Awards.

The Young Achiever Awards acknowledge, encourage and promote the positive achievements of young people throughout Australia.

The son of Kelly Sheumack and Lee Russell, Sam credits his family and, in particular, his sister Jaime and high school as inspiring him to get involved.

Sam, 20, now proceeds to the next round of judging in the TransGrid Indigenous Achievement Award category which determines the finalists in each category.

"It's really great to be nominated," he said.

"As a young motivated Aboriginal person I am very grateful to have the opportunities that I have to be able to pass on my knowledge to younger kids and the generation that will be the future leaders."

Born in Gunnedah Sam moved to Dungog when he was around five years old.

Following his higher school certificate in 2017 he worked in a call centre before pursuing a role where he could make a difference and inspire people.

This came in the form as an Aboriginal Education Officer at Dungog High School for a year before he took on his current two roles - as Indigenous SLSO at Mount View High School and in the Indigenous Advancement Strategy team at Youth Express.

"I believe the role I now play within the education community to help our young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people isn't fuelled by personal achievements and rewards," he said.

"I believe that my best achievement is seeing young Indigenous people set goals and smash them within our schools."

At his high school graduation Sam received the principal's award for school leadership and an award representing excellence in Aboriginal community engagement.

"This gave me the drive to find a way I could help my community. "

As part of his role with Youth Express Sam travels to around eight schools a week running programs for Indigenous youth relating to culture and work readiness for students in years nine to 12.