Merinda Dryden is a Dja Dja Wurrung and Yorta Yorta young woman living in Melbourne and currently working as an Aboriginal Training and Development Consultant at the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency.
In 2016 Merinda was crowned Victoria Miss NAIDOC and participated in the National Indigenous Youth Parliament in 2017. She is currently a Youth Ambassador for the National Youth Commissioner, in the Youth Healing Foundation Advisory Group and an Advocate for Aboriginal kids in out-of-home care.
Merinda had limited knowledge of her Aboriginal heritage while growing up, as she lived in out-of-home care. This affected her self-confidence, sense of wellbeing and identity. In 2014 Merinda re-connected with her family, which began her cultural journey. She is passionate about ensuring that the voices of young people are heard in the development of suicide prevention solutions for Aboriginal communities moving forward.