Rising Star Award 2017 – Natasha Reid
Recognising Young Aboriginal Achievers
Jeremy Brett, Tyson Boal and Irene Holub were at the Ricci Marks Award for Young Aboriginal Leaders where Natasha Reid (Ex VCD student from 2016) was nominated and shortlisted for the award. She was awarded the Rising Star Award which is second to the prestigious Ricci Marks Award.
What an achievement! After being disengaged from school for a number of years, Natasha took the brave step of moving to Victoria on her own and enrolling at the Victorian College for the Deaf to finish her secondary schooling. Her attendance was sporadic but VCD and Deaf Children Australia kept encouraging her to complete her studies and she succeeded to complete Certificate II in Hospitality and Community Services. VCD was also supportive to encourage her to apply for VicDeaf traineeship which has made a big difference to her commitment to work and future pathway. Recently, she was invited to New Zealand to meet indigenous deaf leaders and again this made her realise that there is a need for deaf aboriginal people to connect and share their stories together. She has been chosen to stand next to the Elder at the Opening Ceremony of the 2018 Australian Deaf Games welcoming the whole deaf community.
Natasha is a proud Yorta Yorta person who aspires to live in a culturally rich and strong community, where all deaf Aboriginal people are able to feel connected and proud of their culture. She thought she knew everything about Aboriginal culture but when she became fluent in Auslan, did she realise that there were gaps in her understanding of Aboriginal culture due to her deafness, missing out on spoken information and assumption by others that she understands everything. She realised that other deaf Aboriginal people were in the same situation as her. Aboriginal people take pride in their family, culture and identity and especially the oral stories that are passed on from generation to generation. Natasha’s dream is to bridge the gaps of cultural information and between the deaf and hearing communities and to become an advocate for the wellbeing, human rights and acceptance of the deaf Aboriginal community.
We are very proud of Natasha and wish her all the best in her journey.