Community engagement


Ricci Marks Award winners

Ricci Marks Award winners 2017

Aunty Annita Marks, Natasha Reid, Zoey Marks, Tahlia Biggs and Jason Mifsud

From left to right: Aunty Annita Marks, Rising Star recipient Natasha Reid, Ricci Marks recipients Zoey Marks and Tahlia Biggs. Executive Director, Aboriginal Victoria Jason Mifsud.

Tahlia Biggs – Ricci Marks Award recipient

Tahlia Biggs leads by example with her participation, enthusiasm and compassion to make a difference for her community. She aspires to help the next generation develop resilience and pride in their heritage by sharing her beautiful and vibrant Aboriginal culture. Tahlia is a graduate of the Korin Gamadji Institute’s Richmond Emerging Aboriginal Leaders (REAL) program and currently volunteers as a program facilitator and mentor. 

Tahlia participated in the Victorian Youth Parliament in 2013 with the REAL alumni team, where they successfully put forward a bill to have Aboriginal culture made compulsory in the secondary school curriculum. She has been involved in several community organisations and events including; the Black Border Theatre, Albury Aboriginal Youth Committee, BlackOut Wodonga and the YMCA. Tahlia has been nominated three years in a row for the ‘Youth of the Year’ NAIDOC Awards Albury Wodonga. 

In the future, Tahlia hopes to be elected to the House of Representatives in federal parliament. Tahlia believes it would be a privilege to speak in parliament about the issues and concerns of her people, and in doing so, help heal the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians. 


Zoey Marks - Ricci Marks Award recipient

Zoey Marks is a proud Gunai-Kurnai young woman, who works tirelessly and fearlessly for her community. Zoey grew up in out-of-home care and aspires to make the experiences of Aboriginal children in care the very best it can be. 

Although only 21, Zoey is a mentor and role model to young Aboriginal people in Gippsland. She currently works at Berry Street, where she has been a Youth Ambassador for several years, advising on culturally appropriate interventions and services. Zoey is an advocate for change to the out-of-home care system, having presented to the Department of Health and Human Services on the need for the voices of young people in care to be incorporated in case planning. 

Recently Zoey starred in a documentary ‘The Invisibles’, which aims to help spread the message to other young Aboriginal people about the right to have a say about their lives. Zoey has been described as 'a formidable and inspirational Aboriginal community welfare champion of the future.' 

Zoey will complete her foster care training this year and hopes to study social welfare at university.  In the future, Zoey hopes to be a foster parent and plans to stay in the Gippsland region to support and advocate for her community.

Natasha Reid – Rising Star Award

Natasha Reid is a proud, Yorta Yorta woman who is deaf. She aspires to live in a culturally rich and strong community, where all deaf Aboriginal people are able to feel connected and proud of their culture. Natasha’s dream is to bridge the gap between the deaf and hearing communities and to become an advocate for the wellbeing, human rights and acceptance of the deaf Aboriginal community. 

Natasha truly understands the isolation and sense of disconnection that deaf people feel within their community. After being disengaged from school for a number of years, Natasha took the brave step of moving to Victoria on her own and enrolling at the Victorian College for the Deaf to finish her secondary schooling. 

Natasha currently works at Vicdeaf, an advocacy and information organisation for the deaf community, where she is completing a traineeship in Certificate III in Business Administration. Natasha has overcome numerous barriers in her life and continues to show motivation and leadership assisting other Aboriginal people to achieve their own goals. 

Natasha has been chosen to stand next to the Elder at the Opening Ceremony of the 2018 Australian Deaf Games welcoming the whole deaf community. In the future, she hopes to build connections between deaf Aboriginal people across Australia, by organising camps, events and workshops where deaf people can meet, share and learn from each other. 


Past Ricci Marks Award Recipients


Dylan Clarke
Taneisha Webster
Elise Muller (Rising Star)


Keyanna Hood
Shannon Ryan
Cameron Balcome (Rising Star)


Lucy-Rose Doolan
William Austin
Ngaree Blow (Encouragement Award)


Bronwyn Mongta
Nayuka Gorrie
Mason Peter (Encouragement Award)


Benson Saulo
Vehonda (Bonnie) Smith
Edward Bryant (Encouragement Award)


Greg Kennedy
Samantha Walker
Tamika Hayes (Encouragement Award)


Lowell Hunter
Clarisse Slater
Sarai Atkinson (Encouragement Award)


Sherylee Welsh
Allan Miller
Zack Green (Encouragement Award)


Leigh Saunders
Troy Walker
Kasey Edwards (Encouragement Award)


Dorothy Bamblett
Jamie McConnachie


Allan Murray
Isaac Haddoc


Joleen Ryan
Nayuka Hood


Dixon Paten


Tracey Rigney
Alister Thorpe


Jirra Lulla Harvey
John McGuiness


Peter Shane Rotumah
Eileen Harrison


Ricci Marks
Kwaii Sinclair


Jody Ryan


Nicole Cassar
Jeremy Clark


Yolanda Walker