Passion for her community drives nominee
WA YOUTH award nominee Tiana Culbong says her passion for her community is the driving force behind her youth work.
While studying a Master in Public Health at Deakin University, Ms Culbong – who has been nominated for the Community Leadership Award – works for the Telethon Kids Institute in Subiaco as a representative from the Kulunga Aboriginal Research Development, a group dedicated to creating a stronger youth voice.
“I’m particularly interested in Aboriginal youth health and wellbeing, which will eventually be the focus of my PHD,” she said.
“I always knew I was going to work in and for my community so it was just a matter of deciding what area I was going to focus on.”
The 25-year-old’s community contribution extends back to 2014, where she worked with Centrecare, and was responsible for the case management of eight Aboriginal young people in State care.
Ms Culbong said challenges facing her community needed to be viewed holistically.
“Growing up, I witnessed this cycle of destruction and it is ongoing and I think it’s never addressed as a whole; it’s only ever addressing one issue at a time,” she said.
“As an Aboriginal person you are able to see this issue holistically and if you don’t address things on a larger scale there will be no positive impact.
“I think starting early when you start to see this intergenerational trauma occur, that’s when things need to be addressed.”
As a Noongar woman, Ms Culbong said a passion for her community and youth health and wellbeing was first and foremost.
She said misconceptions about Aboriginal people came from a lack of education.
“It all stems back to education and how much people know about Aboriginal people and community because when you say Aboriginal, people tend to think boomerangs, red dust, communities and alcoholism and things like that but actually have never spent enough time with an Aboriginal person to know what the real issues are,” she said.
Tiana Culbong says the issues in the Aboriginal community need to be addressed holistically.