Bryce is a proud Darug man, youth mentor and facilitator of the Barudir Youth Group, but his journey with GNL begins much earlier.
Bryce first encountered GNL and Auntie Simone at the age of [age] when he joined the previous iteration of Barudir. At the time, Bryce was under the care of the Minister for Family and Community Services. When his [foster] placement broke down and it was unsafe for him to stay, Auntie Simone supported him into a new permanent placement with his best friend’s family. This gave him the stability to finish school, participate in community events and focus on his career aspirations.
Looking back on his engagement with Barudir as a teenager, Bryce tells us: “Growing up in care was hard, but Simone offered me a program that helped me to build my confidence and encouraged me to take ownership of my place in our community by getting involved and giving back. This inspired me to focus my career supporting children and young people to do the same.”
When he finished school, Bryce was offered a job as a youth mentor with GNL and was responsible for designing a fresh new Barudir program: “I quickly realised that young people today aren’t into the same things I was into! But it’s up and running now and making moves. Importantly, the kids decide what community projects they want to do, and I support them to get them up and running. But it’s about them, and their creativity.”
Barudir is a project-based program that helps engage Aboriginal young people in topics that can help them positively engage the world around them, diving into topics like identity, culture, community, strong spirit, social justice and public speaking. It also introduces them to community and provides them with a constant support system.
“Our first major project is organising a disco for community kids. They have never done anything like this before, but they have hit the ground running and are learning about project management, budgeting, responsibility, leadership, and teamwork. These are skills and experiences that Aboriginal young people can carry with them back home – and for life.”
We want to build future leaders and future youth mentors and this program is the perfect thing for that.
“Barudir is a challenge, but a fun one. I have a chance to impact young people’s lives by providing them with opportunities to better our community and supporting them so that they have the support and education they need to take on the responsibilities ahead of them.”