Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
Tony is the son of Vietnamese refugees; growing up in poverty in the 1990s in what was the drug capital of Australia, Cabramatta.
Like many refugees from the Vietnam War, Tony’s parent’s hope of a safe new home for their family was crushed by the 1990s heroin culture that overtook the lives of their children. At 13, Tony escaped the loneliness and domestic violence of his home life and joined one of the most notorious criminal gangs in Cabramatta, finding himself jailed a year later.
Tony continued to deal drugs when he was released. It seemed at the time that the gang gave him a sense of belonging and self-importance. At the age of 16, he faced the harsh reality of this lifestyle by losing a close friend to a drug overdose, while other friends went to jail.
In 2004, Tony made some powerful positive choices that changed his life forever. With 16 family and friends who died as a result of that destructive lifestyle, Tony shares his heart-wrenching story of redemption to schools, councils, and organisations all over the country and abroad.
What’s your passion for the cause? Why did you become an ambassador for World Resiliency Day?
Tony has been engaging young people for the past 2 decades and spends his time both mentoring men from disadvantaged backgrounds and speaking in schools across the nation.
His unique ability to share his experiences in an informing and educational way has kept every audience engaged and left inspired. Today, Tony has devoted his life to helping people break free from the same destructive cycle he was once trapped in and now seeks to make a lasting impact on this needy generation.
What are your contributions?
Now a husband and a father to 6 children (2 adopted), Tony finds satisfaction in continuing his studies and has become the subject of more than 30 newspaper articles and has been interviewed on top-rating radio stations across the nation.