From detention to defence force

Tyreece Hiles went from life on the streets to an aspiring career in the army.

He had a troubled upbringing, surrounded by drug and alcohol abuse and domestic violence. When he found himself in youth detention he didn’t know what lay ahead.

“I wanted to change, but I didn’t know how to and I was too scared,” he said.

On his release, Emerge’s CEO Jen Shaw gave him a job in the café and things slowly turned around for the quiet and shy boy.

“I didn’t believe in myself until other people started to believe in me and that’s when I believed in myself.”

It wasn’t all smooth sailing but with lots of support and encouragement, Tyreece has pushed through the hard stuff and is now a different kid.

“We surrounded him with a lot of different mentors, guys who were in the gym and doing boxing, coupled with work and changing his social circle,” Jen said.

“He’s an amazing example of why we do what we do.”

Tyreece has since found a permanent place to live, received the Youth of the Year Award at the 2021 NAIDOC Week ceremony and enlisted with the Australian Defence Force.