I write a weekly column for my local paper; The Torres News. The column is called Ailan Yarns (translates to Island Chats) and it focuses on sharing positive stories from within the community. It also shines a light on local issues to give the community a chance to voice their opinions. Enjoy.
Published in The Torres News
Printed: 3rd August 2018
Author: Kantesha Takai
Ask anyone that knows her, and they’ll agree that leadership and caring are Stacee Ketchell’s strongest qualities. She is renowned for helping others and being a great role model for young people.
Stacee was the School Captain of Tagai State College Secondary Campus in 2008 and throughout school, she was involved in a variety of leadership conferences, courses and workshops where she attained skills that she has carried into her career.
Today, Stacee continues to shine as a leader and her passion for helping young people has resulted in her forming an organisation called Deadly Inspiring Youth Doing Good (DIYDG).
“I still can’t believe that I’m doing this. It gives me such a good feeling to do something that I’m so passionate about.”
Alongside her business partners, they’ve formed DIYDG, a not-for-profit that empowers young people to take action and change the world, starting with their own communities.
“We’re based in Cairns and we’re a collective of young people who have come from a school-based leadership program. And, we focus on giving back to our community.”
Stacee and her co-founders were all apart of the Indigenous Leaders of Tomorrow (ILT) program. Stacee was a mentor of the program and worked alongside Semara Jose who founded the ILT Graduates Program. With the help of others, Semara and Stacee’s ambition to create change flourished into what DIYDG is today.
“We started in 2015 and we’ve been told that there’s nothing like our organisation in Queensland. We’ve been invited to present at ministerial meetings and have been involved with agencies and schools as well. The positive response for DIYDG has been outstanding.”
As DIYDG is still fairly new, all founders, including Stacee are volunteers and their members are also volunteers that give their time to be involved with DIYDG projects and activities.
“I still work full-time mind you. My full-time job is based in Aurukun with Cape York Employment as the Site Coordinator. They have been very supportive of me and of DIYDG too. I’ve learnt so much about management of staff and the ins-and-outs of remote communities. Thanks to my job, I have a general knowledge of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and I can apply this knowledge to DIYDG.”
Stacee sits on the Board of Directors for DIYDG and unlike other organisations their directorship is proudly made up of young people.
“We are here to support young people to find their voice and to encourage them not be afraid of their voice. And as fellow young people ourselves, we know how best to connect with other young people. We know first-hand the challenges and expectations young people face today and we aim to inspire and to support young people to create change they believe is needed.”
DIYDG currently meet every Tuesday night in Cairns and host activities and workshops to engage with young, like-minded people. Their achievements since 2015 are incredible and includes TV coverage on NITV, hosting NAIDOC celebrations and Awareness programs within schools and health services.
Despite their recent achievements, they’re still finding their feet and are working on a Strategic Plan to really finesse how DIYDG is going to achieve its mission and vision.
Stacee’s personal goals align with the success of DIYDG as well.
“My long-term goal is to be working full-time with DYIDG and growing the organisation into a self-sustaining, life-changing business that helps young people across Queensland, especially in our remote communities.”
Starting an organisation like DIYDG hasn’t been easy, Stacee dedicates all of her spare time to the cause. As she lives in remote Aurukun, Stacee flies to Cairns monthly for Board Meetings and to be involved with DIYDG programs on her time-off. And, when she’s in Aurukun, she meets with her team members via Zoom (video conferences) or teleconferences and they exchange ideas via email.
“My team and I have spent many late nights working on DIYDG, strategising and planning for the future. But it’s all worth it.
Stacee’s organisation could one day help shape a future mayor, prime-minister or political leader and, it’s so exciting to know that this is possible.
As Stacee explains:
“I want to support as many young people going through school, life after school and the transition into adulthood phase. I want them to become the best person they can be and believe in their potential to create change.”
I have no doubt that you’ll change the world sis. Eso for sharing your story.