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I founded Brave as an outcome of my story as a 16-year-old mother to Damien. Brave was the organisation I looked for but couldn’t find.
Brave Little Bear (the meaning of Bernadette), my book was published in 2006, which prompted national attention from communities wanting to support young parents. This was the precursor to creating a national directory of service and triage service, which grew to over 900 organisations in the following decade. I grew Brave while I was leading another Not for Profit and raising my family in Tasmania.
Brave was incorporated as a charity in 2009 and we have had four marvellous Chairs and skills-mixed Directors across this time to reach our vision at each stage, amongst an army of passionate volunteers and staff. I was officially appointed CEO in 2014 and we developed the inaugural Supporting Expecting and Parenting Teen pathway plan, with teen parents and a working group of 20 experts across organisations and government departments that could support young families. this was funded and delivered across Australia.
Across these 17 years my husband and children have remarked that Brave was more like a way of life for our family than a job. It certainly was, and their willing sacrifice (amongst countless others – you know who you are), across those years has contributed to the stunning impact we see Brave steward today, seeing more and more young parents flourish, just like the organisation that serves them.
Bernadette Black AM