Demand for Stars Programs is Growing

The Stars Foundation is proud to be starting 10 new programs in the first Semester of 2024, which is in addition to opening nine new programs in 2023. This development results in Stars supporting and mentoring around 3,400 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls and young women in Term 1, 2024 in schools across Australia.  Stars is currently experiencing an average growth rate of around 20-25% each year.

In Term 1 of 2024, Stars has proudly established the following programs:

    1. Belmont City College, Perth, WA
    2. Gilmore College, Perth, WA
    3. Lynwood Senior High School, Perth, WA
    4. Paralowie R-12 School, Adelaide, SA
    5. Wirreanda Secondary School, Morphett Vale, SA.

In Term 2, Stars will work with local communities to open the following programs:

    1. Cairns State High School, QLD
    2. Western Cape College, Weipa, QLD
    3. Ocean View College, Adelaide, SA
    4. Brauer College, Warrnambool, VIC
    5. Warrnambool College, Warrnambool, VIC.

In addition, Stars receives and manages new school partner enquiries on a weekly basis.

A snapshot of Stars growth in 2023

In 2023 Stars launched its first four programs in New South Wales and an additional four programs in Western Australia and two programs in the Northern Territory. It is highly encouraging that the feedback and results are consistently positive in relation to these news programs.

Why is demand for Stars programs growing?

The Stars Foundation is unique as demand for the service exceeds supply. Since launching in 2015, we have responded to requests for our program, which are largely driven by community and school leaders.

The Stars model relies on recommendations and word of mouth and support from First Nations people, which is very strong. There are several reasons people continually recommend Stars which include:

• The opening of a program involves extensive consultation with the local First Nations community in conjunction with school partners. We listen to the needs and goals of the local community and give this very careful consideration during the recruitment process.

• Our exceptional Stars team are committed to mentoring and empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island girls and young women, and they have wonderful relationships with students, families and school colleagues which is vital to the success of Stars.

• Graduates talk highly about Stars, and they consistently report that Stars has played a critical role in their education and employment pathways and their overall lives, which in turn inspires the younger students.

• First Nations parents and guardians consistently witness a positive change in their girls and young women when supported by Stars, which in turn positively impacts families and communities.

• Stars consistently delivers exceptional annual outcomes, as outlined in our 2023 results.

• Since launching in 2015, Stars continues to grow from strength to strength, thanks to critical funding from Federal and State Governments, businesses, philanthropists, and donors.

Feedback from Stars programs

The following feedback from school and community partners best highlights the value of the Stars program and how it is genuinely making a difference in the lives of First Nations girls and young women across Australia.

“The Stars Foundation is an incredible program in the school setting, with the Mentors there to help guide the young women throughout their journey of education and becoming great role models for their mobs and the future. Every time I enter the Stars room you can feel it being a safe space for all and full of energy. The relationship between the Mentors and girls are unmatched and these connections will last long after finishing school. The community are very thankful for the program as the girls jump at any opportunity to get involved in community activities. Personally, I love seeing the growth the program has achieved so far and Stars have a huge future here in Victoria and beyond.”

Michael Harradine, Koori Education Support Officer, Mildura, VIC

“The Moulden Stars program has been nothing short of amazing for my two daughters who are in Year 4 and 5. My daughters who are of fairer complexion, have always struggled with their identity. Stars Mentors have nurtured and helped my girls with understanding who they are and that no matter what tone their skin is, they should always be proud of their identities. The Mentors have really created such an inviting environment for all the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls to have a place within the school where they can feel safe and belong.  My daughters now come home full of confidence and often quote ‘we are all shades of deadly!”

MW, Parent, Moulden Park Primary School, NT

Stars growth boosts employment opportunities

The growth of Stars programs has led to the organisation becoming an Employer of Choice. In February 2024, there are 180 Stars employees and 65% of staff are Indigenous, with 92% of staff working in program-facing roles.

Each Stars program is supported by a Program Coordinator and Mentors in a Stars room within the partner school. The ratio of Mentor to student is on average 1:20. Therefore a small primary school may feature two Mentors, while some of the larger high schools may feature up to five Mentors. Program Teams are  supported by a Regional Manager and a lean executive support team to ensure there is a consistent approach to program delivery. This structure ensures that the relationship between Mentor and student, and consequent outcomes, are central to the organisation.

One of the challenges of the organisation is the recruitment of exceptional people who are committed to and skilled in empowering First Nations young women, while also living the Stars values of respect, commitment, honesty, and pride. The Stars Foundation invests a lot of time and energy hiring the right people as the success of the organisation depends on its people.


Stars Founder and CEO, Andrea Goddard, and Queensland Regional Manager, Sue Douglas, recently spent time getting to know staff and students from Western Cape College in Weipa, QLD, who welcome the opening of the Stars program.