Q&A: Deadly Inspiring Youth Doing Good

In February 2022, the VFFF Grants Committee approved $49,500 towards rental property costs for Deadly Inspiring Youth Doing Good (DIYDG). Their vision for the 'DIYDG Home' is to create a safe space for young people living in the Cairns region. Driven by the motto "Youth Empowering Youth", DIYDG exemplifies the values of the Contributing to Society focus area.

We spoke to DIYDG's Chairperson Semara Jose to learn more about their work, approach to working with young people, and plans for 2022.

DIYDG Chairperson Semara Jose
DIYDG Chairperson Semara Jose
The DIYDG Home opening on 26 March 2022
The DIYDG Home opening on 26 March 2022

VFFF: How did Deadly Inspiring Youth Doing Good come about, and can you tell us the story behind your name?

Semara: Who are we as a collective?  There were about 15 of
us brainstorming names. Nothing stuck. We broke up into
little groups and not long after, Stephina Tranby, one of our co-
founders, yells out, “What about Deadly Indigenous Youth Doing Good? And the acronym sounds like Didgeridoo.” We loved it immediately. It was fun and it was positive. The only defining point was “indigenous”. We were not wholly an Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander cohort. We had founding members
that are of Papua New Guinea cultural background. This
sparked the conversation on how we replace the ‘I’ and
still stay true to who we are.  Inspiring was thrown around,
it fit like a glove. Inspiring in what we are aiming for and
inspiring for who we collectively are.

DIYDG’s motto is “youth empowering youth”. What does this mean to you?

Our motto is something that we strive for in all that we do. We began as a cohort of young people that lifted each other up.
Youth Empowering Youth was what we did. It is an action, believing in the power of young people and trusting the
process to achieve empowerment. As we have gotten older,
and begun to connect with elders, and community leaders,
this motto still hold its truth. It is our elders and our
community leaders who have the power to provide
opportunities for the action of youth empowering youth to happen.

What is the DIYDG Home and why is it important to your community of young people?

Since moving in, the DIYDG home has meant more than one
thing. It has been a place of safety for young people in crisis.
It has been a place for stability and sense of belonging. It has been a place not just for young people but the community and family that supports young people. It’s a place where are able
to be unapologetically ourselves, with our culture, our humour, our cultural responsibilities and our community. With young people comes our community. That’s the strength.

Can you share any success stories or important moments for DIYDG?

There have been many already in the DIYDG home. Community members were struggling to secure a safe venue after hours for their Torres Strait Islander Dance Practice. They were practicing for their performance at the Tombstone Opening of their late Grandmother. The DIYDG home was able to be offered for the few weeks in the lead up to the unveiling. The lead coordinator for the family, was overwhelmed by the support. She shared that this was the first place where they felt like this was home. That they had all felt comfortable and that they weren’t being judged and or watched.

"We began as a cohort of young people that lifted each other up. Youth Empowering Youth was what we did. It is an action, believing in the power of young people and trusting the process to achieve empowerment."

Can you tell us about the opportunities and challenges associated with being a youth-led organisation?

As an organisation some of the challenges are that we are constantly learning about the skills it takes to run it, compliance, finance & risk management. We are always trying to find the right people who won’t necessarily do it for us, rather, will share and teach us these skills. On the flip side to that, we find that our youthful energy provides a unique feeling of positivity, hopefulness and fun. These are part of the reason why it is so easy to be committed to the work here.

What’s on the agenda for DIYDG in 2022?

Stability and growth. The DIYDG Home is already providing us with a sense of stability and security. Like in our strategic plan, it is about laying those foundations, our roots. From this strong foundation we can begin to fully realise the potential of DIYDG and continue to build on our existing community. We hope to share our ideas and visions and work towards achieving them.

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