Respect earned after life of chaos
WHEN Lismore teenager Lettica Mundine was in trouble with the police and getting kicked out of school, she never thought she would receive community recognition.
But now the 15-year-old has been recognised with an outstanding role model award at the NAIDOC Week 2010 Aboriginal Young Women’s Leadership Awards.
Families, schools and locals gathered in Heritage Park, Lismore, yesterday to celebrate the culture and history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as part of NAIDOC Week.
After Lettica accepted her award at yesterday’s celebrations, the Year 10 student reflected on how she recov-ered from a life of chaos.
“When I was in Year 7 I got expelled and then my sister helped turn my life around,” Lettica said.
“My sister had a baby and that changed everything for me. She told me to get up every day and go to school because I wouldn’t have a life if I didn’t.
“I didn’t want to turn out like all the people who sit in the park drinking all day. I want to work and I want a life.
“If it wasn’t for my sister, my youth worker at Reconnect and Alesco, I wouldn’t be here.”
Lettica’s sister, Cherokee Mundine, is glad her sister changed her tune.
“I knew she was going down the wrong path, partying and drinking all the time, and I didn’t want her to muck up her life,” she said.
“I pushed her, but she wanted to do it herself too.
“She wasn’t going to school, but when she moved in with me she started going.”
Lettica has managed to turn her academic success around and is now helping other students at the Alesco Learning Centre – a Lismore-based school that helps children unable to study at mainstream schools.
The aspiring designer and hairdresser has been involved in NAIDOC celebrations since she was seven years old.
“It means a lot to everyone in the community and I can come see my friends and all the dancers,” Lettica said.