A Bendigo woman who has been recognised at a state level for her extensive volunteer work says she is fortunate she can donate her time and energy to her community.
Khayshie Tilak Ramesh was this week announced a 2019 Premier's Volunteer Champions Award recipient for leadership, one of 10 recipients in that category.
"I was really shocked, to be honest," she said.
"I wasn't expecting it in any capacity - I didn't even know I was nominated."
Ms Tilak Ramesh's volunteer work extends across several organisations.
She is Bendigo's Youth Mayor - the first person to hold the position - sits on the boards of Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services and the Community Legal Centre, is a community advisory committee member for Ambulance Victoria, and a representative on the City of Greater Bendigo's economic development strategy steering committee.
Ms Tilak Ramesh also serves as Victoria's Multicultural Youth Commissioner.
While Ms Tilak Ramesh evidently devotes significant time and energy to others, she stresses that unlike others, she is in a position that enables her to do so.
"It's a bit of a responsibility to give back where you can, and for me, I'm fortunate to have that ability to give back," she said.
There were a lot of people who would love to volunteer, she said, but were not able to do so.
Ms Tilak Ramesh believes her drive to volunteer stems from her upbringing and the values her parents, Praba Tilak Ramesh and Tilak Ramesh Navaneetheguru, instilled in her.
She also credits her schools - St Monica's Primary School and Girton Grammar - with introducing her to volunteering early.
While her volunteering is spread across several roles, Ms Tilak Ramesh said they all fit together.
She said she enjoyed looking at ways to bring people together and work towards something positive, saying a win anywhere in the area was a win for the entire city.
"We have a really strong community conscience in Bendigo," she said.
Ms Tilak Ramesh's award was presented to her ahead of International Volunteer Day, which is celebrated on December 5.
She suspects her sister, Nidhushie, was responsible for nominating her for the honour.
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