Today marks International Day of the Girl which was established by the United Nations to recognise girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world.
So, it’s appropriate that today we pause and acknowledge each one of the 2900+ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls and young women currently in Stars programs and the 700+ Stars Alumni who have graduated Year 12 over recent years.
Our incredible Mentors and staff have the privilege of supporting students in our programs every day of the school year. We recognise the strengths in every girl and young women, and love that they share their unique gifts, rich personalities, and inspiring dreams with us, which is what makes our work so worthwhile.
The Stars team is focused on improving health, education & employment outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls by providing wonderful Mentors and a culturally safe space in our 53+ partner schools across Australia.
This support is critical to the young women, as the stark reality is they are in a higher risk category to be facing complex challenges that often require them to overcome adversity. These challenges can vary vastly between each student and range from simply being unable to physically get to school to the complexities of intergenerational disadvantage. Further insights on these challenges are outlined in the 2023 Commonwealth Closing the Gap targets.
Listening to our Stars
Feedback from our Stars in Semester 1, 2023 best highlight some of the ways we support students and graduates in reaching their full potential.
“Stars Mentors help me get to school every day, they help me get to my classes and there is always food if I am hungry. Stars always help me when I need them and encourage me to always have a go. Having a Stars program at school makes me want to come to school. I have been in Stars since primary school, and they have helped me for five years.”
Year 8 Stars student
“Stars has supported me by letting me know that I have someone to fall back on when I’m trying to deal with school and family stuff. Coming to the Stars room makes me feel very comfortable and safe and it’s somewhere I can hang out during recess and lunch and just be myself.”
Year 8 Stars student
“I love being a part of Stars because we get to work with other students and our Mentors. Stars rewards us with excursions and for the hard work we do during school, and it gives us amazing experiences and opportunities. The Stars Mentors are nice, loving, caring, generous and always have time for us and our problems. If Stars was not here, I would not want to come to school.”
Year 9 Stars student
“Our Mentors are women who fill the roles of not only Mentors, but they are also like mothers, aunties, big sisters and even close friends to the girls of the program, and it is important that we cherish them as some of us may not have that mother/sister bond relationship in our life. They provide us with guidance, wisdom, and plenty of laughs. The Stars room provides us with a safe place to go when we’re feeling blue and or just need a quiet place.”
Year 12 Stars student
“As a student who is a part of the Stars Foundation, I strongly believe that I would not be achieving in school and was struggling to submit my assignments. With the Stars program, I believe I will be able to graduate Year 12, especially because my Mentors will not let me fail.”
Year 12 Stars student
Celebrating the efforts of our Stars
As Year 11 and 12 Stars students prepare for final exams, we have been reflecting on how far they have come since many of them joined Stars, often from primary school or Year 7.
Some of these young women are about to be the first in their family to complete Year 12 and we are especially excited to celebrate this precious milestone as they have overcome many odds to earn this achievement.
The results of Stars Graduates in 2022 reinforce the achievements of Stars young women.
- In 2022, 91% of senior Stars completed Year 12. There is currently a significant gap between the number of First Nations young people who complete Year 12 (65%) and the number of non-Indigenous people who complete Year 12 (88.5%).
- 86% successful graduate transitions to work or further study for 2022 Graduates as of June 2023.
- 80% average attendance rate, compared to 68% for all Indigenous students at Stars partner schools and 78% average attendance of all students at our partner schools.
In the spirit of International Day of the Girl, as girls and young women around the world face their own challenges, we also acknowledge the strength that lies at the heart of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, and an enduring connection to Country that stretches back more than 60,000 years.
To every Stars girl, we thank you for allowing us to share your journeys with us and we recognise the authenticity, courage, determination, and joy you show us daily. To our wonderful Stars Mentors, we thank you for the daily love and support you give the girls and young women in our programs, as together we are making a difference. And to all our incredible partners that enable our work to happen, thank you for your ongoing support. The future is in our Stars!
By Founder and CEO, Andrea Goddard