Twenty-year-old Alexis Briggs knows from experience that despite your background, abundance can be achieved from nothing.
The St Joseph’s graduate recently visited her old high school to spread the word about the pronounced impact the Kokoda Youth Challenge Program (KCYP) can have on a young person’s life.
“KCYP opened my eyes, taught me to appreciate what life had to give and to focus on all that I had rather than what I didn’t at the time,” she told year 11 students.
In 2015 she threw herself into the 14-month life skills program for Gold Coast, Brisbane and Tweed teenagers from all walks of life.
‘Kokoda Kids’ engage in regular physical training, community service and a trip to Papua New Guinea to walk the Kokoda Track, following in the footsteps of Australian Diggers during WWII in 1942. The Youth Program is financed through donations received by participants of the Kokoda Challenge Events.
Lexie had a challenging start to life, losing her father when she was young and being raised by various family members in different towns due to her mother’s battle with drug addiction. She worked multiple jobs to support herself during her senior school years.
“I think being a part of the program during year 11 was the best form of stress relief and it really helped me detox from a busy week of school and work,” she said.
“Everyone takes different things from the experience, but for me it opened my eyes to a whole new level of gratitude.”
Program Founder Doug Henderson said there was no difference between those who are expected to fail and those who are expected to achieve, except for opportunity and the right support.
“The one thing that every Kokoda Kid has in common is that they are seeking a sense of purpose and direction,” he said.
Alexis was awarded the prestigious Doug Henderson medal following the program and is now in the final year of her dream degree, a Bachelor of Nursing.
“I can’t rate my experiences with the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program any higher; it’s the best thing I’ve ever done and the core values behind it still push me to achieve in my life every day,” she said.
“I have made some of the most valuable friendships and memories, and gained a little Kokoda family along the way.
“It doesn’t matter what anyone tells you that you can’t do, if you want it and work hard you’ll go far.”
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