Hi my name is Ivy Hodges and I am a proud Torres Strait Islander (Eastern Islander descendant) and Gungganji (Yarrabah) woman. I will begin my journey as a Registered Nurse with the Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service.
I attended Bentley Park College and during my senior years, I knew I wanted to give back to my people but how I asked? Before graduating high school in 2014 I thought to myself, I have always been passionate about taking care of others. So, from there, I applied at James Cook University (JCU) into a Bachelor of Nursing Science degree and began my tertiary education in 2015.
University was a completely different atmosphere to me and my immediate family, I was the first of my ten siblings and my parents to go to university and what a memorable journey it has been for us all. It was during a study session in the Indigenous Centre at JCU back in 2015 when I saw the IYMP staff promoting the program and I am so grateful that I joined this program. As a freshly eighteen-year-old, I had made the decision to move out of home, work part-time and study full-time, oh boy was that a learning experience for me. IYMP provided me with $100 shopping vouchers every fortnight and they were so handy after paying all my bills off and only receiving so much from Abstudy. The program also purchased: some of my textbooks, uniforms, paid flights to attend the Indigenous University Games all over Australia and provided accommodation when I had to travel for my nursing placements.
It was in 2019 when things became really hard for me, I had been made redundant and the business I had worked for closed their doors for good. As a young independent woman with everything figured out, I had hit a massive barrier physically and mentally, how was I going to provide for myself, maintain the room over my head, afford my bills and study all at the same time? It was from this moment that IYMP had become one of my main pillars of support and strength. I was fortunate enough to move into their accommodation and have a stable household. I also made a plan at the end of 2019/2020 will be my year to complete a certificate 3 in Community Services at the start and to finish the year off I will graduate with my degree, making myself and everyone proud. IYMP helped lift me back up when I had hit a big low.
I’m sure we can all say 2020 has been crazy with Covid-19 making things difficult at the start of the year. But for me personally, it was my heart being broken just before commencing my final semester in July. I had lost one of my main supporters and hero, my Dad. I had hit my lowest of lows physically and mentally and thought it would be impossible to come back this time. IYMP, again had helped lift me back up and provided me with unconditional support and strength to finish my degree and my Cert 3 in Community Services. IYMP staff understood the cultural protocols and practises that came with sorry business, and they were very patient and persistently encouraged me to see the light at the end of a long tunnel. Without the support and dedication of IYMP to their students, I would not have graduated with my Bachelor of Nursing Science degree after a six-year memorable rollercoaster journey.
2021 is the year I can finally say that I am now a qualified Registered Nurse. I will begin my 12-month graduate position working at the Torres Strait Island Hospital and Health Service, which is only the start of a new beginning of another journey. I will say 100% that it would not have been possible without the continuous support of my family, friends, my mob and the Indigenous Youth Mobility Program. I am extremely passionate about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and hope to give back to my people as the community has done for me.
I extend my deepest gratitude and thanks to everyone in the Indigenous Youth Mobility Pathways Project who have been there every step of the way in my journey. And thank you to you for reading my story.
My advice is to DREAM BIG, WORK HARD and STAY DEADLY.