Jaucintha Iles is committed to improving the lives of those in people living in Rockhampton, Queensland.
They say when the student is ready, the teacher appears. For Jaucintha Iles, that teacher took the form of nurse at the local clinic.
“She asked me if I wanted to be a cleaner for the rest of my life,” Jaucintha says.
The young Yiman and South Sea Islander woman was holding down two jobs, one at the local grocery store, and another as a cleaner at Rockhampton Base Hospital.
“The jobs allowed me to live comfortably but I had aspirations to do more,” she says. “I wanted to learn new skills and to improve my knowledge so I would be able to make a contribution to my community. When I told her that I’ve always had an interest in health, she encouraged me to visit the local university.”
Two months later, Jaucintha began a Certificate III in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Healthcare and started with CQ Youth Connect as an Indigenous Youth Engagement Officer. Her own experiences helped her in reaching out to disengaged young people.
“I had my daughter at the age of 16 and have survived domestic violence in relationships and other tough experiences in life that have taught me a lot,” Jaucintha says.
“It is my passion to empower youth and to help guide them while letting them know that I understand and can relate to the struggles that they face.”
“It can be challenging at times putting a smile on their faces and changing a student’s perspective on life is rewarding.”
“I have the opportunity to empower other youth to make informed healthy choices by promoting physical, spiritual, social and emotional wellbeing. I love my job.”
Jaucintha finds herself surrounded by new mentors.
“I have the best role models around me guiding, encouraging and supporting me. The people who I work with have taught me to be confident and to believe in myself so I can be a role model for my community.”
“My long-term goal is to further my education so I can do the best work that I can in my community.”