Kyana’s Story

24 / 02 / 2015

For our First Person this month, we’ve received a piece from Kyana Hubbard, a young Indigenous woman from the Northern Territory who has become an extremely positive role model in her community inspiring others to be the change that they want to see in the world. Kyana is involved in the campaign ‘Yarn Up 4 Change’ that is attempting to break the stigma associated with mental health issues in young people.

My name is Kyana Imari Hubbard and I am a Wardamen and Gurinji woman from Darwin in the Northern Territory. I have spent most of my life in Darwin and growing up here, there isn’t much to do if you didn’t play sport, which I didn’t. I wanted to put my spare time into doing things I felt were important, things that would benefit my community and things that would keep me out of trouble.

I heard about IMPACT, a Young Indigenous Leadership Program run by the Foundation for Young Australians across the Northern Territory in 2012, when I was in Year 9, but I did not apply because of other commitments. Later, in June 2013, I was approached by Michelle Pipino from the Foundation for Young Australians and offered a place in the program which I decided to take. I wasn’t sure what I was getting into or what the IMPACT Program had in store for me, but it changed my life. IMPACT has opened so many doors and given me many opportunities that have helped me grow as a person and as a leader in my community.

Over the past two years with the IMPACT Program, I have been able to travel all across Australia. I have gone to Sydney and taken part in the five day ‘World of Work’ workshop, attended ‘UNLEASHED – Youth Summit and Awards’, I took part in ‘Student ShoutOut’ 2013, I travelled to Melbourne for the second annual ‘UNLEASHED – Youth Summit and Awards,’ I have taken part in the ‘Desert2Surf’ initiative, I met with the Victorian Women’s Trust, volunteered with ‘Children’s Ground’ in Jabiru, NT, and with the Yothu Yindi Foundation volunteering with the youth forum at the Garma Festival 2014, I walked the Larapinta Trail in Alice Springs and I was selected to take part in NIYLA – The National Indigenous Youth Leadership Academy 2014 National Gathering.

In the week that I spent at The National Indigenous Youth Leadership Academy, five campaigns were created on social issues affecting our communities. The issue that I felt the strongest about was mental illness, so the campaign I jumped on board for was ‘Yarn Up 4 Change’.

Our campaign ‘Yarn Up 4 Change’ is run by 12 dedicated young indigenous people from around the country and our aim is to break the stigma associated with mental illness and encourage early prevention. It came to our attention that young people are only seeking help when they reach high levels of psychological distress and are only being admitted into treatment by family or friends. Many young people are too afraid to speak up and say something about the way they are feeling, and as a result they turn to other outlets such as self-harm and in extreme cases, suicide. Our slogan is “break the silence, know the signs, do something about it, pay it forward!”

I am currently studying Year 12 and in my third and final year of the IMPACT program. This year, my main focus is on finishing my secondary studies and getting a decent ATAR score. I hope to go to The University of New South Wales next year to study social work and indigenous studies.

If I could say anything to the kids in my community it would be that it is that it is okay to walk away, it is okay to want to leave,  it is okay to take the opportunities that come your way, it is okay to want something better for yourself, IT IS OKAY TO REACH FOR YOUR GOALS!

Click here to view the ‘Yarn Up 4 Change’ short music clip performed by Tyus Arndt and the ‘Yarn Up 4 Change’ group.

You can ‘Like’ the ‘Yarn Up 4 Change’ Facebook page by clicking here.