Esperance is home to the Nyungar People and ancestral lands that span over 30,000 square kilometres of Southern Western Australia. The Stars Foundation is proud to work with First Nations girls and young women and families within this community and 52 other programs across Australia.
The Stars program provides a holistic mentoring program that supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young women at Esperance Senior High School to identify their goals and reach their full potential. Stars programs across Australia focuses on four pillars designed to improve health and education outcomes. These include:
- Education, Training and Employment – encourages active engagement in education and the development of positive plans for a successful transition into full time employment or further study.
- Healthy Lifestyles – addresses healthy habits for life including nutrition, self-care and personal hygiene, sport, and fitness.
- Wellbeing – focuses on personal wellbeing and mental health.
- Community, Culture and Leadership – celebrates First Nations culture and encourages activity within communities which develops confidence and pride.
How does Stars Esperance focus on Education, Training and Employment?
In 2023 the Stars Esperance program has focused on employment transition opportunities and employment pathways and upcoming traineeships.
The students benefited from many organised local workplace site visits and a partnership with the local Tjaltjraak Aboriginal Corporation in relation to the newly established driving program. Twelve Stars have been assisted to access this program which has supported them to obtain their Learners permit, participate in driving lessons and finally obtain their P plates.
A site visit to a remote WA energy provider resulted in securing work placement for a Year 10 Stars student and the feedback has been only positive.
Within two weeks of a Woolworths site visit, four Stars students gained employment and two more are in the process of starting their applications. A visit to the Cooperative Bulk Handling (CBH) worksite visit resulted in a further three students applying for a position over the summer season.
It has been a huge advantage for our Stars to be able to see the workplace, understand the variety of positions within each site, and to then believe and action employment opportunities.
The importance of Community, Culture and Leadership
Esperance Stars enthusiastically participated in a community dance performance which was one of the biggest productions yet.
Tjaltjraak’s local Indigenous Arts group invited the students to perform as part of the community First Lights drone performance. The crowd was enormous, and the girls were referred to as “professional Nyungar dancers” and received rave reviews from all who attended.
Throughout the year, Stars students once again proudly represented Stars and their culture by supporting NAIDOC celebrations at the local primary schools. Stars young women take great pride in sharing and educating others about their culture. The activities the students provided ranged from language lessons to Indigenous art activities and face painting.
Our students also took centre stage at Esperance Senior High School NAIDOC celebrations. Students provided an Acknowledgement of Country in language and danced upon a beautiful sand mural they had created in front of the entire school. It was fantastic to see so many of our girls’ families and Elders in attendance to celebrate with them.
Focusing on Healthy Lifestyle and Wellbeing
Esperance Stars recently partnered with Headspace who provided facilitators to host eight weeks of planned sessions. This has been a fantastic opportunity for students to engage in education around a wide range of wellbeing and mental health issues in a collaborative and interactive style. This platform has enabled strong and trusting relationships between Headspace staff and students that will have ongoing benefits within our community.
All girls participated in a 4-week Sound Healing and Yoga program with Nicole Tamlin, who is skilfully trained in Kundalini Yoga and Peter Hess sound healing. Our Stars were able to learn and practice throughout the year which helps reinforce the importance of self-care, wellbeing, and healthy lifestyle.
The Importance of the Stars Program to Students
The best way to unearth the value of the Stars program is to simply ask Stars students what the program means to them. The following quotes from Esperance Stars best summarises the importance of this work.
“I love Stars.”
“Stars is very helpful and encourages me to come to school.”
“I wouldn’t go to school without Stars Foundation.”
Article by Stars Esperance Program Coordinator, Anouska Bonney