Andrea founded Stars Foundation in 2015 because she was deeply concerned about the lack of investment in programs supporting the education of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls, compared to the significant investment in programs for boys.
Before founding Stars, Andrea had spent many years at Clontarf Foundation, which runs support programs for Indigenous boys. She managed the development of operations during a period of unprecedented growth for the organisation.
“I will always be proud of my contribution to this and I’m very pleased to see many more boys being supported today. However, I felt that my work would be incomplete if I didn’t give my best effort to balancing the ledger in terms of investment in girls’ education,” she says.
“As I travelled around the country setting up programs for boys, I lost count of the number of times I was asked why girls weren’t being given the same level of support – ‘How come we don’t have this, Miss? How come we don’t matter?’ These were powerful questions that crystallised for me the need to establish Stars.”
Andrea’s passion and commitment, and that of her team, has seen Stars grow and develop across three States over the past three years and on every measure – engagement, school attendance, Year 12 completion and post-school transitions – Stars has exceeded expectations.
In selecting Andrea for the Award, the Women’s Agenda judges acknowledged her absolute dedication to pursuing a vision and turning it into outstanding outcomes for young Indigenous women.
“She’s grown a model from scratch and she has created impact with sensational early results. She has created real impact for Indigenous women in the community and created better outcomes. She is driving change and results.
“[Andrea] combines drive, passion, humility and grace. She has achieved results for Year 12 Indigenous girls, with 96 per cent of them completing Year 12.”
In accepting the award, Andrea said she was proud to lead a team of incredible, committed staff who are all dedicated to offering the highest level of support to Indigenous young women.
“I am honoured to lead an amazing team at Stars, who all work so hard to ensure that we achieve, even exceed, our targets,” she said.
“Every single day we are inspired by our Stars themselves. The young women in our programs show determination, resilience, courage, humour and hope, often in the midst of considerable challenges.
“When we see our young women stepping up, it reminds us that we owe them nothing less than our best. And that’s what we do every day.”