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Jake - In pursuit of Justice for Indigenous Youth

Jake is a community-minded young man who cares deeply for the youth of his hometown of Kempsey on the mid-north coast. With the assistance of a RAS Foundation Scholarship, Jake is studying law at the University of Technology Sydney with the aim of one day working for the Aboriginal Legal Service in his hometown.  “As a young Indigenous person living in a rural town, I found it difficult growing up as there were few role models in my community to guide young Aboriginal people,” said Jake. “Many of my friends and family members dropped out of school and turned to drugs, and these same people often find themselves in trouble with the law.” 

It was within these tough circumstances that Jake developed a passion for law and with considerable determination went on to achieve Dux of legal studies at his high school. He believes once he becomes a lawyer, his deep understanding of the local culture could help to improve access to legal services in Kempsey, particularly for Indigenous youth.  “In my hometown crime rates are high, predominantly amongst youth and many people live in poverty,” said Jake. “Being able to practice law will give me the opportunity to give back to my community and offer assistance to those in need of help.” 

Jake juggles a significant study load but still finds time to contribute to volunteer groups on campus including the Indigenous Student Collective, where he has taken on a leadership role. Jake has lived through some tough times, including coping with the loss of his father at an early age, however, his positive attitude and commitment to fulfilling his dream of becoming a lawyer has not wavered. He is grateful for the support of the RAS Foundation Scholarship to help him fulfill this dream. 

“It was a huge financial risk for me to study law in Sydney and without this scholarship it would have been difficult to afford living expenses,” Jake said. “My study load is quite demanding which makes it difficult to work part-time, so the RAS Foundation Scholarship has been very important to me succeeding at university.”