International Women’s Day 2023 – Angela Debnam

Looking forward to Mondays

“I started as a Community Development Officer at PCYC Ipswich in 2014. It was only meant to be temporary. I had been on maternity leave and was preparing to return to work in the corporate sector but soon fell in love with the organisation and the work PCYC was doing. Everyone was so supportive and PCYC felt more like a family than a job. I spent the next four and a half years working in the community delivering Braking the Cycle—a learner driver mentor program—and other youth programs. It was the first job I had ever had where I looked forward to Mondays!

I facilitated a number of programs in collaboration with a wide network of community sponsors and the Indigenous Sports and Recreation Officer—now my husband—Keith Debnam, including Deadly Dukes, Automotive Work Skills, Connecting with the Jarjums, and Community Work Skills for women experiencing domestic and family violence. This work was acknowledged by multiple crime prevention and child protection awards.

With support from the community and wonderful volunteers, we were able to expand the Braking the Cycle program by opening five satellite locations with limited or no access to public transport—Boonah, Laidley, Lowood, Redbank Plains and Inala.

In 2018, I had the honour of becoming the State Manager for Braking the Cycle. Braking the Cycle is such an amazing program, full of incredibly dedicated staff and volunteers. Highlights include establishing Braking the Cycle Changing Gears, our First Nation’s learner driver mentor program in PCYC Napranum and expanding the program to 53 locations across Queensland.

In July 2021, I moved into the Operations Manager role for Youth Programs, supporting Skilling Queenslanders for Work, Braking the Cycle, and Youth Programs. In 2022, I became the State Operations Manager for Social Delivery and Volunteer Services looking after our wonderful Emergency Services Cadet program, Volunteer Services, Braking the Cycle and Core Programs.

The most moving and memorable experience I have had during my time in PCYC was when we took our Deadly Dukes Gold Award group to Uluru to complete their adventurous Journey. When we arrived at Uluru to watch the sun set, the Dukes group were all wearing their Gold Deadly Dukes shirts. Traditional Owner Reggie Uluru happened to be there at the same time, giving a piece of the rock to Clinton Pryor to take with him on his Walk for Justice. It was such a special moment for our young people, there were so many smiles and happy tears.

My family has been very involved with PCYC over the years. I have two adult children and two still at high school who have grown attending numerous PCYC events, volunteering their time (if you can call it volunteering!) to support community events and helping with program set up. They have loved every minute of it and the experience has helped the three oldest in their own quest for work.

My oldest son now works for PCYC and loves it. My husband has moved on to another organisation but still volunteers at PCYC Ipswich.

I am inspired everyday by the people in the organisation, especially our staff and volunteers who are on the front line supporting young people and helping them grow into amazing human beings.”

Angela Debnam
State Operations Manager, Social Delivery and Volunteer Services