It’s all about community for NAIDOC lifetime achievement award winner | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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It’s all about community for NAIDOC lifetime achievement award winner

Celebrating his heritage and the traditions of his people – and encouraging the wider community to do the same – is what drives Indigenous University of the Sunshine Coast engagement officer Les Raveneau.

Les was recently honoured for being a champion of change in the Fraser Coast community with a Fraser Coast NAIDOC Lifetime Community Achievement Award.

The annual NAIDOC Awards recognise outstanding contributions to improve the lives of people in their communities and beyond, and to promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues in the wider community.

“The best part of my role with UniSC and what I love about being out in the community is finding ways to bring people and organisations from all backgrounds together through events and activities,” said Les, a former youth worker and sports and recreation officer.

A talented artist, Les recently curated Land, Sea and Sky, a survey of works by Aboriginal artists connected to the Fraser Coast region as a contemporary expression of culture, stories and identity.

The exhibition will run at the Fraser Coast Regional Gallery until 21 August.

As a UniSC Engagement Officer, Les works in partnership with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, local government, business groups and schools to engage Indigenous students with their learning and campus life, and to help them fulfil their academic and personal aspirations.

This involves engagement initiatives aimed at promoting participation in tertiary education and helping to coordinate community and on-campus events.

His involvement in the wider community includes former co-chair of the regional NAIDOC Committee and committee member on organisations such as Fraser Coast Mates, a group raising awareness and providing support from men’s mental health, and Community Outreach Doctors.

Les also plays a major role in organising community events such as the annual NAIDOC golf day, helps facilitate homework clubs for Indigenous high school students, umpires at a senior level in touch football and NRL and is involved with local tennis and cricket.

“This award was very unexpected. I feel humbled and very honoured,” he said.

“I get so much satisfaction from my involvement in the community.

“I hope that what I do helps to inspire young people to embrace higher education, and encourages all members of community to celebrate the diversity, culture, and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.”

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