Wagga-based psychologist and registered music therapist Sophie Mason deals with youth at risk constantly through her line of work, and believes there needs to be more support options available to them in the community.
"What more can we be doing to support young people at risk of homelessness, access to services, and how can council help - whatever it might be - to make some more of those services accessible or even exist," she said.
Spurred on by these questions, the 29-year-old is putting her hand up as a candidate in Wagga City Council's upcoming election, running on current councillor Tim Koschel's ticket alongside some of her close friends.
"I've got a really tight-knit group of friends, one in particular who is really passionate about her community and has always been involved in community committees and things, and so I wanted to go on that journey with her and another friend," Ms Mason said.
The friends in question are Alexandra Cesnik and Katharine Graham, who along with Ms Mason grew up in small villages around Wagga and hope to bring a voice to residents and ratepayers outside the city.
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Ms Mason was raised at The Gap, while Ms Cesnik grew up in Tarcutta and Ms Graham in Ganmain.
She said the trio are passionate about getting more women and young people onto council, but also "bringing a voice to smaller communities and ratepayers that maybe don't get their money's worth".
"I think it's time for some fresh faces in council," Ms Mason said.
She studied her undergraduate degree in Psychology in Wagga, before going to Sydney to complete her masters in music therapy.
Practicing for around four years, she currently works for Rivkids Psychology in Wagga.
I think we're all pretty passionate about ... bringing a voice to smaller communities and ratepayers that maybe don't get their money's worth.Sophie Mason
Ms Mason meets youth at risk of homelessness in her line of work and said while most of the power to address this lies with the state government, council could still be working to provide more infrastructure and lobby for funding.
"Providing spaces for people ... the hubs that are out there are great; the Tolland hub, the Ashmont hub, they're really great facilities," she said.
Ms Mason is also hoping to see a stronger focus on the arts, and said live music events could play a key role in attracting tourists to the region as more emphasis is placed on regional travel.
"We've got some great outdoor spaces, like the music bowl," she said, remembering past events from her teenage years that brought big names in the industry to Wagga such as Thirsty Merc.
"If we were to get bands that young people are interested in now, bringing them to Wagga and actually making that an event that people want to travel for ... kids that are out at Ganmain or out at Coolamon [can] come in to be part of that."
In the lead up to this year's election, The Daily Advertiser has profiled the candidates looking to secure a spot on Wagga City Council.
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