Stars Celebrates 2023 Results on International Education Day

Stars Foundation is proud to report its 2023 school year results which are testament to the consistent and great work of Stars’ First Nations students and Mentors throughout the year.

Stars Foundation was established in 2015 to improve health, education and employment outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls and young women, and the Foundation is consistently measured on these key outcomes.

Stars key metrics of success in 2023

  • 3,020 First Nations girls and young women enrolled in the Stars program in 52 partner schools across Australia.
  • 92% of the 220 students enrolled in the Year 12 Stars program successfully completed their final year.
  • Stars students’ average attendance for 2023 was 78%, which is 10% higher than our partner school’s ‘All-Indigenous’ attendance rate and 1% higher than our partner school’s ’All-student’ attendance.
  • Nine new Stars programs opened in 2023: 4 in NSW; 3 in WA; and 2 in Alice Springs.
  • 83% of 2022 Stars graduates nationwide have successfully transitioned to employment or further study and remain in positions in December 2023.
  • 90% of all funds were distributed directly to programs in community in 2023.
  • There are 180 Stars employees and 62% of staff are Indigenous, with 92% of staff working in program-facing roles, at the start of Term 1 2024.
  • 900+ Stars Alumni since establishment in 2015.

Focus and activity metrics in 2023

The Stars Foundation focuses on four pillars designed to improve health and education outcomes and in 2023 there were 9,699 activities based around this framework, as follows.

  • 3,126 Healthy Lifestyles activities: addressed healthy habits for life including nutrition, self-care and personal hygiene, sport, and fitness.
  • 2,472 Wellbeing activities: focused on personal wellbeing and mental health.
  • 2,041 Education, Training and Employment activities: encouraged active engagement in education and the development of positive plans for a successful transition into full time employment or further study.
  • 2,030 Community, Culture and Leadership activities: celebrated First Nations culture and encourages activity within communities which develops confidence and pride.

Celebrating Stars on International Day of Education

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 24 January as International Day of Education, in celebration of the role of education for peace and development. The Stars Foundation supports the UN position that without inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong opportunities for all, countries will not succeed in achieving gender equality and breaking the cycle of poverty.

Founder and CEO of Stars Foundation, Andrea Goddard, said Stars Foundation is committed to the role of education in empowering First Nations girls and young women.

“Stars’ 2023 results show that First Nations girls and young women are committed to their education and with the right support in place, they consistently thrive,” said Andrea Goddard.

“It’s a privilege to encourage our students reach for the stars, while also contributing to greater cultural awareness and gender equity across Australia. We remain steadfast on our mission to support and enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls and young women to make active choices towards realising their full potential in all aspects of their development and wellbeing.”

Word of mouth support for Stars

The Stars Foundation model is unique in that its approach relies heavily on word-of-mouth support. Stars is typically approached by school Principals and/or First Nations community members seeking the Stars program. Following more than eight years of service, the organisation has built a solid reputation for helping and supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young women. The following testimonials provide an indicative snapshot of the impact Stars has on individuals, families, and communities.

  • “I really like being part of the Stars Program. We get to do fun after-school activities which I enjoy. I really liked the laser tag party excursion that we went on, we got yummy food and even got to win some prizes from party games. It’s good to have Stars come into my class and be there for extra help with my schoolwork. Having the Stars program has made me want to come to school more.” – Year 4 Student, South Newman Primary, WA
  • “I love coming to school and hanging in the Stars room because it’s a safe place.” – Year 6 Student, Tennant Creek Primary School, NT
  • “Stars help us when we need you and you’re always there.” – Year 7 Student, Tumut High School, NSW
  • “The first three terms of the year I didn’t want to come school. Its been really difficult for me. I find it hard to make friends and feel left out all the time. My house is always really loud and it makes my head hurt so I sleep a lot when it’s quiet. Miss Jessie has been coming to my house every morning to pick me up and make sure I have breakfast recess and lunch. She said my attendance was 17% last term and its 78% this term. I got an award at Assembly for most improved and I feel really proud of myself. I like going to contact time and doing things with the girls. It makes me feel good when we all do a activity together. Miss Jessie got me a pair of runners and socks and helps me washing my clothes. Stars in my safe place, it can be loud but a not the same loud as home. I like being a part of Stars they’re always kind to me.” – Year 9 Student, Katherine High School, WA
  • “Stars has helped me so much. From the everyday encouragement to come to school and to try my best, to this year helping me secure a part time job and giving me the courage to stand for school captain. I always feel welcome and supported by the Stars Mentors. In the past, I struggled to come to school often, but now knowing I have everyone from Stars around me to help and encourage me and accept me for who I am. I can see how much I have improved, and I am thankful because without Stars I don’t know where I would be.” – Year 9 Student, Chaffey Secondary College, NT
  • “Since moving here to Para Hills from Port Augusta the Stars program has helped me gain confidence and I have made new friends, I love the Stars room it makes me feel safe and Aunty Rikki and Aunty Donna make it fun.  I have improved my grades since I have been here as well. I have had the opportunity to go to see Bangarra Dance and AGL learning new things and jobs.  If I was home in Port Augusta I would not have had the chance.  Stars also picks me up which helps my Nan who is often not well.” – Year 9 Student, Para Hills Senior High School, SA
  • “I feel supported by Stars Mentors every day. The space they have created is welcoming, relaxing and comfortable. Both Stars mentors have supported me in getting my first paid job. This must be one of the proudest moments I’ve had while schooling at Yirara College. I also like the support that Shania and Papa give me with staying in class and helping me achieve my goals. My favourite thing about Stars is the relationship we have, and I can literally ask or tell them about anything.” – Year 11 Student, Yirara College, NT
  • “Thank you so much to Lu for these last 3 years together with you as our Mentor and guide to complete Year 12. So grateful for all the opportunities Stars gave me and the adventures we went on to Monkey Mia and Broome. Those memories and laughs will be cherished as I really do feel lucky to have been a part of a program like this, and Stars was the biggest highlight in my high school story.” – Year 12 Student, Geraldton High School, WA
  • “I am a sole parent and I have had four daughters attending Butler College since 2020. All have had the privilege of attending the Stars program with Jess, Judy and now Camilla. The Stars program has been an incredibly positive induction to the school, which has provided my girls with the support and guidance needed to assist them throughout their schooling. The Stars as well as Miki have been extremely helpful and assisting in any way possible to address any issues that arise and providing a safe space for open communications.” – Parent, Butler College, WA
  • “The Stars program and Mentors have supported two of my girls, through improving their attendance in 2023. The activities, contact time, and being a part of the Maliyan Mob have built positive relationships with staff and students, encouraged self-development, self-esteem, and resilience. Stars Mentorshave identified barriers and opportunities to support both my girls individually, and they demonstrate their commitment to guide learning practices, access cultural events, participation in the community, and promote social inclusion.” – Parent, James Fallon High School, NSW
  • “Having Stars at Tambrey Primary School has meant our girls in upper primary are thoroughly supported in a crucial time in their primary school education. The girls have quickly embraced Anna in her role, and she can be seen around the school building relationships, checking in, caring for and engaging our girls in their learning. Our school’s vision is ‘Nurture, Inspire, Achieve’ and having Stars onboard means our wrap around approach to supporting all our students is even more effective. Thanks, Anna, for diving in and becoming an important part of Team Tambrey.”  – Toni Whitbread, Deputy Principal, Tambrey Primary School