NAIDOC Week: Keep the Fire Burning with Kyleen & Red Dust

Small Change Big Change: Icons of Impact celebrates community drivers and changemakers within the Small Change Big Change network.

NAIDOC Week: Keep the Fire Burning with Kyleen & Red Dust

Small Change Big Change: Icons of Impact celebrates community drivers and changemakers within the Small Change Big Change network. This initiative is our way of illustrating the significant impact donations have on the lives of young people and their communities. We thank our donors and inspire others to contribute, knowing that every donation fuels change-makers like Kyleen Randall (pictured bottom right below) from Red Dust.

Red Dust, an accredited community partner, is funded by Small Change Big Change to support their capacity to deliver programs dedicated to our cause of building resilient young Australians in remote and indigenous communities. Their work spans across all our strategic pillars of resilience: mental health, identity, and connection.

This month, in honour of NAIDOC Week’s (July 7-14) theme, “Keep the Fire Burning: Blak, Loud and Proud,” we are proud to feature our first icon, Kyleen Randall, Strong Young Women’s Program Manager at Red Dust.

Kyleen Randall, at 40, has spent over 18 years dedicated to Aboriginal health and social-emotional wellbeing. Her extensive experience spans urban, regional, and remote settings, working with various organisations including private, not-for-profit, and Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations. Drawn to Red Dust for its authentic approach, Kyleen’s passion lies in contributing to the healing of Aboriginal individuals, families, and communities.

Raised across different parts of Australia and deeply connected to her Aboriginal heritage, Kyleen witnessed disparities firsthand. The loss of loved ones to suicide and self-harm, along with family interactions with the justice system, fueled her curiosity and commitment. Earning qualifications in Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drugs, and Indigenous Trauma Practice and Recovery, Kyleen aimed to make significant contributions through her knowledge and skills in the Health Sector.

“I have always been present to the disparities that exist between First Nations and Non-Indigenous people. After losing many people I love through suicide and various forms of self-harm, I became curious as to why this is. My passion lies in contributing to the healing of my people,” Kyleen shares.

Kyleen’s role involves managing and designing programs that deliver holistic health messages to Aboriginal girls and women, ensuring that these initiatives are responsive to community needs. One of her significant accomplishments includes initiating the 2023 Colour Fun Run Event in Mutitjulu Community in collaboration with the “Deadly Runners” and Mutitjulu Community. Her dedication and innovative approach have made a lasting impact on the communities she serves. Kyleen’s role also includes contributing to policies that support a safe work environment and the Reconciliation Education Program. Additionally, she is a member of Red Dust’s Indigenous Leadership Group, contributing to policy development and program initiatives.

How Self Determination & Community Shapes Resilience

Kyleen’s personal journey is a testament to the power of resilience. She redefines resilience as “the capacity to pause, reflect, heal, and stand up stronger despite the challenge or adversity.” Her approach to healing involves embracing pain, feeling it, and allowing it to move through, rather than letting it get stuck and cause harm.

A pivotal moment in Kyleen’s career was receiving a promotion to Regional Coordinator for the Tobacco Cessation Program in 2012. Despite not completing year 12 and becoming a mother at 17, Kyleen’s dedication and knowledge earned her this role, marking a moment of being valued and seen. This experience reinforced the importance of having people believe in you and nurturing your growth.

Her story is a powerful reminder that growth occurs outside of the comfort zone and that healing is a continuous process. Kyleen’s work and her own healing journey have equipped her with the knowledge, experience, and empathy needed to support and inspire others.

Inspired people inspire people

Kyleen attributes her success to a number of key figures in her life. Her parents and grandparents, who have always radiated strength, knowledge, intelligence, and kindness, are her first mentors. Her children inspire her every day with their unconditional love and acceptance. Professionally, her colleague Jonathan Hermawan, and former mentors Tamsin Porter and Malindey Warke, have played significant roles in nurturing her growth and development. “It’s important to have people believe in you and nurture your growth and development. It can build self-esteem and confidence, especially as an Aboriginal person,” Kyleen notes.

Kyleen’s aspirations extend beyond her immediate role. She hopes to be a great mum and role model to her four children, instilling in them confidence and empowerment in navigating both the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal worlds. She is committed to empowering girls and women in Aboriginal communities through health, education, and self-determination.

On behalf of the young people you work so hard to support, and everyone else who crosses your path either directly with Red Dust or through this channel, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to you, Kyleen. Thank you for creating a legacy we can all look up to. Your dedication, passion, and resilience are not only inspiring but also pivotal in driving the mission of Red Dust and the broader SCBC community.

Our responsibility in keeping the fire burning

Kyleen’s story is a powerful example of how donations to Small Change Big Change can create real, lasting impacts. Kyleen encourages others to connect and share knowledge, emphasising the importance of collective growth and compassion. Her journey and work exemplify the impact that dedicated individuals can have in building resilient communities.

Kyleen believes creating an environment that nurtures healing and reconciliation is crucial. Organisations can support these steps by elevating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices and fostering inclusive spaces. A prime example of such leadership and cultural evolution is the Red Dust Board Statement on their bold path for governance, leadership, and conciliation. This statement underscores their commitment to increasing First Nations representation to a minimum of 50% by 2025, emphasising the importance of governance rooted in cultural respect and the empowerment of Indigenous voices.

Keeping the fire burning is not just a call to action for Aboriginal communities, but for the nation as a whole. By supporting healing and reconciliation, we ensure that the heritage, strength, and wisdom of First Nations people continue to enrich our society. This contributes to a more inclusive, compassionate, and resilient Australia.

Your contribution helps build a future where young Australians can thrive, empowered by the strength and resilience of leaders like Kyleen. Follow this link to make a donation to our shared cause or donate directly to Red Dust here. Together, this NAIDOC week and beyond, we can keep the fire burning—Blak, Loud, and Proud.

For more on the incredible work Red Dust is doing to support NAIDOC Week, including the inspiring story of Xavier Catholic College’s “Keep The Fire Burning” music video (pictured above), visit their recent blog.

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NAIDOC Week: Keep the Fire Burning with Kyleen & Red Dust