Ballina teen just loves to help others
By ZOE SATHERLEY
WINNING an award at tonight's Kids in Community Awards is the last thing on Ryder Boyton's mind.
Being in the public eye doesn't sit comfortably for the Year 12 Ballina High School student.
While Ryder, 19, has been nominated in the community support category, this shy, quiet achiever says the real joy is helping others.
Recognition is not something that is even in his frame of reference. "I just do things where I see a need and where I can make a small difference in the world. It's no big deal," he said.
Ryder became an inaugural member of his school's Leo Club 'so I could be with like-minded friends', and he has done voluntary work for many causes, including the Red Cross, Landcare, cancer research and the Asian tsunami appeal.
In the recent Relay For Life cancer fundraiser, Ryder was the last one walking through the middle of the night when all of his friends had collapsed in exhaustion.
"I'm very determined when I set my mind on something. We had to have a team member walking for 24 hours, so when the others became too tired to take a turn I took over," he said.
"I walked about 60 kilometres that day.
"I was driven by the loss to cancer of my mum's best friend. Anything that benefits research into cancer should be strongly supported by the community."
Ryder has also achieved his bronze medallion in the Duke of Edinburgh program.
"Getting nominated for the Kids in Community Awards was a huge surprise," Ryder said.
"I don't talk much about what I do because I don't do it to impress people. It's more about the good feeling you have when you have been able to contribute something to others."
Ryder hopes to study nanotechnology at the University of Technology in Sydney and continue his involvement with community projects.