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Horizon House supports Dusty to fulfil a lifelong dream

This Youth Week we are celebrating the achievements of some of the inspiring young people in our Horizon House Program.
Horizon House Broome young person Dusty, Dusty, Horizon House, youth homelessness, supporting young people, young people independence, Horizon House Broome, Horizon House success story

16 November 2018 

One such young person is 19-year-old Dusty who recently graduated from Horizon House Broome and has fulfilled his life-long dream of joining the Australian Defence Force.

When Dusty first arrived at Horizon House, he enrolled in a Certificate ll in Horticulture at the Kimberley Training Institute with a view to becoming an Indigenous Ranger. 

“I grew up on cattle stations and I have a real passion for looking after country so I was really engaged in what I was doing but I’ve wanted to join the Army since I was a kid,” Dusty said.

Growing up, Dusty moved around a lot for his father’s work and was never able to stay in one place for long.

In some of the remote locations his parents moved to there was no access to schooling so Dusty would go to stay with family for that period of time but the houses were often overcrowded and didn’t provide a stable environment.

“When I moved into Horizon House and got my own bedroom it was amazing,” Dusty said.

“Having some space and quiet time meant I was able to focus on myself and think more about my long-term future, what my goals were and what I needed to do to achieve them.”

With the support of Horizon House, CoAct and Mamabulangin Aboriginal Corporation, Dusty was offered a spot in the Department of Environment’s Green Army program for 17 to 24 year olds.

He began working 30 hours a week as a paid volunteer on important cultural and environmental projects in and around Broome.

“Getting accepted into the Green Army really helped build my confidence and gave me the push I needed to keep trying and not give up on my dream,” Dusty said. 

He embarked on a fitness program and successfully applied for the ADF Indigenous Recruits Program, which helps young Indigenous men and women develop their literacy and numeracy, something Dusty had struggled with due to changing schools so many times as a child.

His efforts paid off earlier this year when Dusty was accepted into the Australian Defence Force.

“I’ve got a big family and one of my main motivations now is to be a good role model to my little brothers, sisters and cousins,” Dusty said.

“Growing up as an overweight, red-haired, fair-skinned Aboriginal boy I got bullied a lot and I didn’t have much confidence, I would never have thought I could get to where I am today." 

“Horizon House and the Green Army helped change that and give me a sense of self belief that I didn’t have before, they helped me realise what I was capable of.” 

“I want to help do that for other people and make sure the kids in my family and the guys at Horizon House Broome know that if you commit to a goal and work hard, you can achieve it. I’m living proof.”

About St John of God Horizon House

The first house was set up in 1999 with generous funding from the community to St John of God Foundation.

Since then, and with ongoing donations, the service has expanded to include 11 homes in WA and Victoria, under the management of St John of God Social Outreach.

“It’s fantastic to see that almost 20 years on, the generous donations which made the first St John of God Horizon House a reality are continuing to help young people in need,” St John of God Foundation Chief Executive Officer Bianca Pietralla said.

“Dusty’s story is a great reminder that the care and support of social outreach services, enabled by St John of God Health Care and supporters of the Foundation, can make a real difference to one person’s life by providing immediate intervention, plus offering long term opportunities.”