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Temeka Leonard

Temeka is 18 years old and was born in Blacktown. She is the second youngest of 5 children but has an enormous extended family that she grew up with. She has spent her whole life in the Mt Druitt area of Sydney but has family connections to both the Wongkumara and Kamilaroi nations.

Through her first 18 years of life she has seen first hand the effects that both the out-of-home-care and criminal justice system have had on her mob. Temeka and her siblings were removed from their parents and placed into multiple foster care homes. They were eventually placed back into the care of their loving mother and father but during her time in care, Temeka went through a lot of tough times and circumstances. She has also spent time in police custody and juvenile detention. Despite all of this, Temeka has come out the other side a real leader.

She is extremely passionate about helping her community and is currently enrolled to study Community Services at TAFE while looking for work in the hospitality industry. She is also looking to be a mentor for some of the younger girls in the Mt Druitt area.

She is excited to be a Youth Ambassador for Just Reinvest as she sees it as a much better way to deal with the problem of overrepresentation of our people. She wonders how different both her life and the lives of many of her family and friends would have been if the money spent on locking her mob up was spent on helping them to break the cycle. She is also very passionate about the expansion of other diversionary programs such as the Youth Koori Court.