16 June 2009

Indigenous youth leading the way

Deanna Kennedy of Beswick, NT

“Born in Katherine, Deanna Kennedy was a young girl with big dreams. She wanted to travel to new places, and do something to benefit her community.

At 24 years of age Deanna successfully completed the FaHCSIA Indigenous Leadership Program (ILP), including a voyage aboard STS Young Endeavour.

“”I chose to do the Young Endeavour program so I could learn new things about the sea, and about me,”” says Deanna. Aboard the ship, Deanna learnt about navigation, rope knotting and working in a team. She says she moved out of her comfort zone, making great new friends in the process.

Since completing the ILP, Deanna has gone on to complete the Certificate II in Indigenous Leadership and has become a strong advocate for youth. Her plans for the future include finishing her studies and continuing with community work. She will also keep a lookout for opportunities in Perth, as that’s one place she’d really like to see.

Deanna believes community is a place where different groups come together as one and she sees her community as one of the main motivations behind her success. She’s learnt that if you persevere and keep a positive mind, then you will have the chance to show your community the value you bring, and make a difference.

Deanna’s efforts have been recognised by her local community. She was recently awarded the Beswick Young Citizen of the Year, by the Australia Day Council NT 2010 Local Government Awards and was selected to attend the 2010 Oxfam Straight Talk forum in Canberra recently.

“”Jumping off the ship in the open sea was scary,”” says Deanna,”” but it was also fun””. And it’s the best way to make a splash!

The Indigenous Leadership Program has been running since 2004 and assists Indigenous Australians by offering opportunities to emerging and potential leaders.

– courtesy of the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs”