Jessica Bradshaw: A Mother, A Leader

Jessica Bradshaw is a proud Ngardi and Walpiri woman, a mother of two, and one of Olabud Doogethu's female trailblazers that works with Halls Creek's most at-risk children.

Now, Jessica, a lot of people don’t know this but you’ve actually worked for Olabud Doogethu before. Can you introduce yourself and what you used to do?

Yes, my name is Jessica Bradshaw. I am a Ngardi and Walpiri woman. When I first joined, I was doing the night patrol work to help the kids go back home last year. I was doing that work fora couple of months.

Why did you get involved with Olabud Doogethu in the first place?

My biggest thing was that I wanted to do something for the young people. As a child growing up in Halls Creek, we used to have all these youth services – so I wanted to help our community and help our kids to become the future generation.

So you grew up in Halls Creek. Can you tell me what was that like?

Everybody in the community connected – it doesn’t matter where you came from but we’re all family in this one community. But as we get older, and we’ve got our own kids to look after, it’s pretty different to how I used to grow up. Looking at the kids today, made me think of my childhood and how things are so different for them today… but looking at the kids, they’re our future…. I feel like everybody has forgotten about them.

When you were growing up, would you say you were similar to the kids growing up today?

It was different, because we had youth services back in the day. We used to do a lot of things – I learnt how to play basketball and got trained by a youth service worker…. not only that, but I used to play all these different sports like indoor cricket at the hall. It was really fun. Now the kids don’t really have that. I don’t know but the biggest thing for me to join Olabud Doogethu was to help the young people, help them find out who they are and what they’ll become in the future.

Today, you’re a Case Intervention Officer. For people who don’t know what that is, can you tell us what you do?

I work with the girls and working around them and their well-being, in and out of school and home just to see how they are going and if they’re attending school every day, you know? Some days are tough, but some days are good.

For you, what’s the biggest challenge with working with the girls?

It’s tough for me because I don’t want to see any of the kids get left behind… I have seven clients. They’re good and kids are kids. As a Mother, I have two boys. Quincy is 17 and Scotty is 12 years old.So being a Mother, when I take care of clients, I can understand the kids. Some kids have probably missed out on a Mother figure, and so me just being there for the other kids is important.Everybody has their own story, but through my job I just want to try to help them through their situations and problems they’re going through.

Now as a Ngardi and Walpiri woman, does this help you with your job, particularly when connecting with people in the communities of Halls Creek?

Yes, I can understand Walpiri and Jaru more butonce you know one language, you can connect with the others easily. I know Jaru, Kija, Kukutja, Walpiri, and Gooniyandi… and English!

How would you describe working with Olabud Doogethu, during your time before and today?

It’s like this one big family, hey. When I first came, I was a bit shy. But that’s not who I am. I felt welcome and I felt like – well, as a woman, you have to lead as well as the men. That’s how I see myself, leading my people.

What are your hopes and dreams for the future of Halls Creek?

It won’t take a day, but it’s going to happen slowly.So we have to start today to build a good future for our future generation. And they can see us as role models – as leaders – who can show them the way. Maybe one day they’ll have my job and takeover. That’s what I hope for. And not only in Halls Creek, but also in Balgo, Billiluna, Ringer Soak and Mulan. I want that for everybody.