Rocky support worker in running for state award
A Goreng Goreng/Bunjulung woman from Rockhampton is a finalist in the Queensland Young Achiever Awards for her advocacy on behalf of Indigenous people.
Letitia Smith, 21, who works for Central Queensland Indigenous Development in Rockhampton, was nominated for, among other things, working with disengaged children to ensure they remain connected to their culture, helped intellectually-impaired Indigenous people understand the housing system, connecting people to support services to improve their lives, and being involved in healthy eating and alcohol and tobacco awareness programs.
She sat on the board of the National Healing Foundation, entered the Miss NAIDOC Competition in 2018, won the 2018 Miss Leadership Award, and has attended the Queensland Indigenous Youth Leadership Program.
"I work the role that I do because of my lived experiences in the child protection system," Ms Smith said.
"I want to break the stereotype of our mob and break the cycle and show that not all bad experiences lead you down a negative path, and that you can use your lived experiences in a positive way.
"I want to be a positive role model."
Ms Smith said her goal for the future was to lower the percentage of Indigenous children in care and create more kinship options for them.
She suggested Central Queensland adopt a guided program whereby Indigenous children removed from families on short term orders are able to regularly stay with parents.
"I'm definitely honoured and overwhelmed at the fact that I am being recognised for my hard work," Ms Smith said.
"I am not an individual person who has tried to make a change or made a change; I'm a leader of a pack of people who have these great ideas."