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Leading the way to wellbeing: Ira's Story

This article appears in: Alumni stories, Community Services and Social Work
Alumni Awards finalist Ira Racines on laptop at headspace Darwin

From a young age, Ira Racines knew that he wanted to help others and with his CDU qualification he’s making that happen. As it turns out, he’s a born leader.

Community champion Ira is committed to making a positive contribution to society, both through his professional career and through his extensive volunteer work with various community organizations. With a particular affinity for LGBTIQA+ issues, he’s extremely passionate about mental health in youth.

Thanks to his studies at CDU, he’s turned his passion into action with a certificate in Leadership and Management and a Diploma of Counselling.

Helping others

With his new-found skills and knowledge, Ira began volunteering at headspace Darwin, one of Australia’s leading youth mental health organisations, to establish an LGBTIQA+ group for young people aged 12 to 25.

This soon turned into a full-time paid job, first as Community Engagement and Youth Participation Worker and then as a Team Leader in Community Engagement.

Studying at CDU not only gave me exposure to different components of management, but it also enabled me to transfer what I had learnt to real life.

“My work and study complemented one another so it was the perfect blend.”

Leading the way

Alumni Awards finalist Ira Racines at work

In his current role, Ira is responsible for developing interactive programs and presentations for different age groups to provide mental health and well-being education to young people.

“I provide strong leadership and mentoring to members of my team and the young people participating in headspace programs,” he says.

“My role involves actively engaging with a wide range of organisations and seeking out ways to increase collaboration and awareness of youth mental health.”

A solid grounding

Through his studies and networks at CDU Ira had many opportunities to engage in industry-relevant experience before he graduated.

“I volunteered in the Ship for World Youth’s port of call to Darwin, welcoming hundreds of international guests. I was also previously involved with an agency called YEAH, which stood for Youth Empowerment Against HIV/AIDS, focusing on educating young people on sexual health through peer education.

At a time when youth LGBTQIA+ issues are opening new opportunities for community acceptance and understanding, Ira’s goals to make a difference in the world are admirable. And it all started with a seedling of hope.

“I was motivated to study because I wanted to make a difference and I chose CDU because of the course it offered," he says.

My qualifications have opened up so many opportunities to make a difference to people and have given me the confidence to be a strong leader.

A final word

Knowing what he knows now, Ira has same sage advice.

If I were to give my younger self some advice, I’d say don’t be influenced by others in making decisions about your study.

"Look into all your options and follow your heart.”

Ira has received the Alumnus Award for Early Career Achievement at the CDU Alumni Awards.

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