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Bernie Shakeshaft

BackTrack Youth Works

After seeing the plight of disadvantaged youth in his community, Bernie decided to take action. Starting in 2006 with a shed and an idea, Bernie founded the BackTrack Youth Works program, turning around the lives of some of Australia’s most vulnerable kids. Using the skills he learned from Aboriginal trackers in the NT, 52-year-old Bernie has developed an award-winning program that uses animal-assisted learning, agricultural skills and a residential facility.
He and his extraordinary team have helped more than 1000 children reconnect with their education, training, families, and community, offering them love and support to live out their hopes and dreams. The program has helped decrease Armidale’s youth crime rate by 38%, saving millions of dollars and keeping kids out of correctional systems.

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