At 17, Isaiah Dawe was travelling back to boarding school after the holidays when his foster carer sent him a text saying he was no longer able to live with them.
When the time came to complete his Higher School Certificate exams, Isaiah wasn’t able to focus on the exam, he was thinking about where he was going to live and how he was going to survive.
This was the genesis for Isaiah to create ID. Know Yourself, the first Aboriginal led organisation delivering 1:1 mentoring and support coordination to Aboriginal children and young people in contact with the Out of Home Care and Juvenile Justice system in New South Wales. As Founder and CEO of ID. Know Yourself, Isaiah is determined to impact the lives of the 22,000 Aboriginal children in Out of Home Care, their purpose is to break the cycle of intergenerational trauma and disadvantage by establishing belonging, discovering purpose and empowering positive choices.
Isaiah was a finalist in the 2019 NSW / ACT Channel 7 Young Achiever Awards and winner of the 2017 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander TAFE NSW student of the year. He was also the first Indigenous person to be awarded TAFE NSW student graduate of the year.
Isaiah has now been appointed as a Board Director on the board of TAFE NSW as well as Marist 180 Youth Care.
Isaiah has represented his community at the National Indigenous Youth Parliament, bringing home the major award of ‘Positive Influencer’ and was chosen by the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples to represent Australia internationally at the International Visitors Leadership Program in America. Isaiah has also been selected to attend the World Indigenous Business Conference in Rotorua, New Zealand.
Last but not least, Isaiah was also a part of the first Aboriginal team to sail in the prestigious Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race and the Sydney to Gold Coast Yacht race. Prior to that, the extent of his sailing experience was riding on a ferry across the Sydney Harbour.
Isaiah believes that “it doesn’t matter what you know, what matters is what you do”.
Thank you Isaiah for sharing and including us on an important conversation, what an informative and inspirational session– Blackwoods
Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story with all of us today and shining light on the issues facing Indigenous young people.– eBay Australia
I love the opportunity to listen and learn. There seems to be so many different cultures in the mixture of this diverse country, and so much to learn about connecting people.– Cricket Australia
Thank you Isaiah for sharing your story and the importance of leadership, connection and place in healing intergenerational trauma. I am really grateful for these opportunities to get a greater understanding and knowledge within NAIDOC week.– Westpac
Isaiah, I’m sorry for the pain and trauma you experienced as a youngster, stolen from your family and I’m so incredibly inspired by the work you’re doing now with other young people. Amazing!– Lendlease
I was so inspired by your passion, intellect and role modelling. Thanks so much for sharing your story. We need to see more like you and hear more truth telling. This is something I will remember for a long time to come. Thank you.– Grant Thornton