TAFE NSW student, Jeffery Amatto, of Blue Haven, has been recognised for founding Brothers 4 Recovery - a drug, alcohol and mental health charity.
Mr Amatto has taken home an Achievement Award at the 2019 TAFE NSW Gili Awards which celebrate the achievements of Aboriginal students, as well as the accomplishments of TAFE NSW employees and innovative programs that have empowered Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Mr Amatto was acknowledged as "a great role model for people overcoming barriers" that impact on their lives.
"I feel very blessed and grateful to receive this award, especially as the longest period I spent at school was to year 8, and now I'm receiving a Gili Award, it truly is a blessing," Mr Amatto said.
"I have used my past experiences to travel around Australia to conduct my drug and mental health workshops. In the last two years I have travelled over 65,000km.
"As Aboriginal people, we're spiritually connected to this country, we need culture to heal."
TAFE NSW regional general manager, Michael Cullen, congratulated the winners for their hard work, dedication and commitment to transforming their lives through vocational education and training outcomes for Aboriginal people.
"Last night's celebration marked the 29th year that the TAFE NSW Gili Awards have recognised the power of vocational education and training, and the life changing pathways to employment or further study for Aboriginal people," Mr Cullen said.
"Gili is an Eora word meaning 'to shine' and is fitting for Jeffery whose achievements I am extremely proud to acknowledge.
"Jeffery has demonstrated remarkable talent, ambition and determination through his studies at TAFE NSW and commitment to his local community."