We urgently need your help to change the stories of young Queenslanders, like Waynead, and support them to dream big!
It is imperative that our clubs remain a symbol of hope with open doors for any young person to walk through and start their journey to success with us. Please donate today.
As a member of the remote Indigenous community of Aurukun, 21 year-old Waynead has faced many challenges growing up, but he chooses to wake up early everyday, lace up his running shoes and hit the red dirt tracks on his morning run around town. He is literally running against the tide of disadvantage, carrying with him the hope that he can inspire other young First Nations people to chase down their dreams, just like he has.
Waynead is a marathon runner—a title he recently earned and one he is incredibly proud of. In 2021, he completed his first marathon in Alice Springs and in 2022, he travelled over 13,000kms from his regional hometown to Greece, to run the gruelling 42km Authentic Athens Classic Marathon.
Image credit: Samuel Davis Media, Cape York Weekly
In 2014, a 12 year-old Waynead walked into PCYC Aurukun for the first time. At the club, he found a safe space with a wealth of support services and a big focus on sport and recreational activities for young people, to help combat anti-social behaviours and keep youth engaged with their community. He soon realised it was the kind of place where he mattered, and where he could chase his dreams and make a real impact in his community.
In 2021, Waynead joined the Kang Kang Youth Leadership Program—a group of young people committed to giving back to their community whilst also influencing positive change on the younger members at the club. Along with his teammates, Waynead helped to organise successful events for Aurukun, including the inaugural NAIDOC Youth Week Ball, the Youth Week Sports Exchange to connect with young people from other Indigenous communities and he led initiatives linked to Child Protection Month.
“Walking into PCYC Aurukun that day changed my life for the better,” he says.
“They gave me a safe place to come to, they’ve helped me achieve my goals and we’ve had so much fun along the way.”
In 2021, Waynead was selected out of almost 150 applicants across Australia to participate in the Indigenous Marathon Project (IMP). The PCYC Aurukun team including Youth Club Manager, Sergeant Steve and Youth Support Service Coordinator, Norma began supporting Waynead in his training regime each morning, literally running with him side-by-side, and helping him to realise his potential and focus on his dream to run the Athens Marathon.
PCYC Aurukun became Waynead’s safety net—helping him conquer his nerves around travelling overseas and supporting him to overcome difficulties at home that threatened to derail his success. PCYC staff also helped him obtain a passport and secured donations so he could purchase the clothing, running shoes and equipment he needed to compete in the marathon.
Waynead says without PCYC Aurukun’s support, he never would have made it to Greece.
“They kept me focused on my training when I had things going on at home. They made sure I ate right, had all the gear I needed and got the community behind me, which was a really great feeling,” he says.
“I went to Greece to become a marathon runner for myself, but I also wanted to show the kids I live with here in Aurukun they can do what they dream of too—that was the most important thing for me,” Waynead says.
Since his return, Waynead has been committed to sharing his story of hope and remaining a visible young leader in his local community, actively encouraging young Aurukun students to attend school. Waynead has become a true inspiration for the young children of Aurukun, with many of them taking great pride in rubbing shoulders with him at the club and learning from his success.
“We need to be the masters of our own destiny,” Waynead says of the young people of Aurukun.“PCYC opens up our eyes to what we can become and gives us a safe space to try our best.”
For young people like Waynead, creating pathways through sport and recreation is a powerful tool in developing the confidence, leadership and self-determination young people need to succeed in life.
Every day at PCYC’s across our state, young people are engaged in sport as a gateway to stronger connections and deeper conversations with trusted adults. It is imperative that this door remains open for any young person to walk through and start their journey with us.
We urgently need your support to ensure our 56 clubs can continue to support over 50,000 young people each year by giving them the chance to achieve their dreams and change their stories, just as Waynead has.
PCYC Queensland impacts the lives of young people by playing a critical role in improving their everyday lives, being there through some of their important life milestones and helping to change their story.
Your donations help support the crucial work of PCYC Queensland’s Indigenous programs across 6 dedicated sites — Aurukun, Mornington Island, Napranum, Palm Island, Yarrabah and Woorabinda.
Together we can build safer, healthier communities through youth development.
Should you have any questions regarding your donation please email [email protected], or phone (07) 3909 9555.