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Stepping up, moving on: Nothing will stop me now

Completing your final year of high school can be stressful at the best of times. Throw in leaving a violent home and facing homelessness and it takes extraordinary commitment to continue with your studies.

But that is what 18 year old Issaraha (Issy) Braun just did – a young man committed to becoming the best person he can be, to break a cycle of family violence, and navigate his way to a successful career as a chiropractor.

“My goals are high, but that’s what moves me forward,” said Issy.

Supporting him all the way has been the Blacktown Hills Youth Homelessness team in Western Sydney.

Issy was referred to MacKillop when he was 17 years’ old and in the middle of Year 12. After living on the streets for two weeks, as well as couch surfing with friends, Issy came to live at a MacKillop Family Services property where young people are provided with safe accommodation, a stable environment, and case worker support to initiate positive change.

“At the time being with my family wasn’t the right thing for me,” said Issy. “I needed to leave and work on myself. It wasn’t just my family; I was very rebellious, lazy, arguing, wanting to do my own thing all the time.

With MacKillop I have been learning from all types of people – I’ve become more mature, resilient, I have the will power to do better. The staff at MacKillop got me through Year 12. I achieved reasonable results but not enough to get into Macquarie University to study chiropractic science.

– Issy

“So, next month I am starting a Tertiary Preparation Certificate IV course at TAFE, then I will re-apply to Macquarie Uni at the end of this year. I am also looking for a part-time job and soon I will be moving to shared independent housing close to where I grew up.”

Tammy Momdijian is the Blacktown Hills Youth Homelessness House Supervisor and couldn’t be prouder of Issy.

“He is the most confident and goal-driven young person I have met for a while”, said Tammy. “We hope he will be successful in securing employment and that he does well at TAFE so he can gain entry into university. Last year, it was important to us that Issy felt supported and relaxed as he prepared for his final exams. We also worked with him on time management, cooking and budgeting skills to help prepare him for more independent living.

This support has been very important to Issy.

“They believed in me, they told me to follow my dreams even if they didn’t seem real to other people,” said Issy. “They looked after me, took care of me, and taught me life skills. If I worked hard they gave me gratitude – they got me to the stage where I am today. They kept me going.”

Issy is a proud young Aboriginal man who comes from the Guringi mob in the Northern Territory. When he is older he would like to help and inspire other young indigenous people to be the best they can be.

“At the bottom of my pit I realised I could become someone so much better, so I spent time meditating, exercising and working on myself. That’s what has given me confidence. I’ve transitioned from a kid of 17 years to a young man of 18 ready to work hard. Nothing will stop me now.”