Aunty Joyce Summers

Aunty Joyce Summers is a highly respected Aboriginal Elder who has tirelessly volunteered her time to educate the Gold Coast community about our culture for the past 43 years.

And her passion was recently recognised when she was awarded a Premier's award in recognition of her tireless work.

"I have a passion to ensure we all look after our people," she said.

"It has always been instilled in me to do the best you can. This was reaffirmed to me by my parents and family from a very young age.

"My uncle, Alfred Bekue Senior, was a forerunner in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights."

Aunty Joyce has helped establish many committees and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations on the Gold Coast, and advocates healing through understanding and tolerance.

As the Chairperson of welfare organisation Krurungal and Canowindra Aged and Disabled Aboriginal Corporation, Aunty Joyce shows strong leadership in areas of health, education, housing, employment and education.

"Education and initiative are the keys to opening the pathway for success," she said.

"Education is, and always will be, the way forward. It is the best way to level the playing field and to get good outcomes for our people."

Aunty Joyce formed a Parent and Community Committee on the Gold Coast to help parents and children with school issues, and is also an Elder in Residence at schools in the region.

"I am working with the Parent and Community Committee to encourage parents to have more involvement in the education of their children," she said.

"Giving parents this input helps them have a sense of ownership and improves the outcomes for their children."

Showing that learning is truly a lifelong pursuit, Aunty Joyce recently completed a degree in Indigenous Studies, graduating at the age of 68.

"My dream is to have Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people recognised in the Australian Constitution as the first people in this country," she said.

"I also dream of every person having a home to live in - somewhere that is warm, dry and comfortable."