Wellbeing and Mental Health

As part of Stars’ focus on wellbeing, motivational speaker Joe Williams from The Enemy Within was invited to visit our Nhulunbuy Stars to talk about suicide prevention and mental health.

Joe is a Wiradjuri man from New South Wales who played NRL for the South Sydney Rabbitohs before moving onto professional boxing. Despite his successful sporting career, Joe told the girls that he has battled with suicidal ideation and Bi-Polar Disorder for most of his life.

He delivered a passionate and honest reflection on his own mental illness, addiction and substance abuse, and stressed the vital importance of remaining strongly connected to culture and identity.

Our Stars displayed a great deal of respect by listening attentively, and honestly sharing their own stories and self-reflections as part of the workshop.

The discussion left our young women with a lot of food for thought and reminded them of the importance of caring for each other and nurturing their own and each other’s wellbeing.

Cruising with the Water Police

Supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young women to make a successful transition from school into employment or further study is a key focus of the Stars program.

To help them become fully aware of the many opportunities that are available to them, our Stars students are regularly exposed to a range of real-world work and study options.

Last week our lucky VCAL Stars from Haileybury Rendall School were taken on a fascinating workplace tour of the Northern Territory Water Police.

They had a ride on one of the police boats in Darwin Harbour and heard from one of the officers about how the boat is used for law enforcement. During the ride, they checked out a croc trap (no crocodile, though!) and got up close to the big ships out in the harbour.

Sergeant John Pini then took our students on a tour of the office and showed them the police boats, jet skis and cars, explaining what each is used for.

He also gave the girls an insight into the many different types of jobs available within the police force across the Territory and in the remote communities.

 

Exploring Future Opportunities

Two of our Year 12 Haileybury Rendall School Stars were lucky enough to go on a workplace tour of Care Flight NT this week.

The tour was hosted by local Indigenous woman, Justine Williams. As part of the visit, she showed our Stars some amazing footage of people who have required Care Flight’s services and of the dedicated doctors and pilots who work for the organisation.

They then went on a tour of Care Flight’s brand-new hangar, which contain training facilities, sleeping quarters, logistic and administration offices, and safety and emergency equipment.

They also had an opportunity to watch a helicopter being serviced by a team of engineers, one of whom spoke to the girls about the role each of them plays – and how important it is for them all to work as a team.

Our young women left knowing a lot more about the work of Care Flight NT and the types of job opportunities they might be able to consider after they finish school at the end of this year.

Making deadly choices!

During this term, Nightcliff Middle School Stars are taking part in an Indigenous health promotion program – Deadly Choices – as part of Stars Foundation’s dedicated focus on healthy lifestyles and wellbeing.

The program, which aims to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to make healthy choices for themselves and their families, is being delivered by Tracey Thompson through Danila Dilba Health Service.

Every Wednesday afternoon the program will centre around a different topic. The first session was on Leadership and the girls discussed the different ways in which they can be leaders and role models within their own families and communities.

As a strong focus of the Stars program is to contribute to community, the girls were happy to volunteer their time to assist Tracey to prepare a barbeque breakfast for community members every Tuesday morning.

Super Stars Boot Camp

Year 12 Pimlico State High School Stars have been at boot camp all year, working on maintaining good health and keeping fit as part of Star’s emphasis on healthy lifestyles and wellbeing.

Our wonderful personal trainer, Jeannie, has generously volunteered her time every Wednesday, running a one-hour boot camp session with the girls before school.

After each session, the young women have enjoyed a delicious, healthy breakfast and prepared themselves for school.

Our Stars say exercising in the morning has helped them wake up, feel ready for the day and stay much more focused in class.

These fantastic young women have showed a great deal of commitment, strength and perseverance in attending Super Stars Boot Camp all year –

and they will certainly miss their early morning squats and burpees!

Stars Founder Wins Leadership Award

Stars Founder and CEO Andrea Goddard was awarded ‘Emerging Female Leader in the Not For Profit Sector’ at the 2018 Women’s Agenda Leadership Awards in Sydney recently.

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.”

Star Leaders in the Making

The Stars program works hard to develop leadership skills and resilience in our young women, as well as building their confidence and wellbeing.

As part of preparing our Year 11 Thuringowa Stars to be confident leaders at school next year in Year 12, they recently participated in a cultural strength discussion, followed up with a group abseiling activity at Picnic Bay on Magnetic Island.

During the cultural strength talk, our young women were asked to identify the different strengths and personal attributes that they think a good leader possesses, especially one who is strong in their culture.

The abseiling activity was designed to show the girls, in a practical way, that they are also able to display the qualities of a leader.

Although some of the girls were extremely anxious about abseiling, they all completed the activity – with most of them wanting to go for a second time.

The amount of support and encouragement they gave one another was fantastic to see and it was empowering for our young women to realise that they can also show the same qualities and strengths they had identified as important in a leader.

Following the activities, our Thuringowa Stars Mentors have seen a definite improvement in attendance and effort from some of the young women involved, especially those who had struggled to get to school on time – or even at all.

Volunteer Work Recognised

The volunteer work of our Nhulunbuy & Yirrkala Stars was officially recognised during the Nhulunbuy Pet and Animal Welfare (PAWS) Volunteer Thank You evening at the Gove Country Golf Club last week.

As part of the Community, Culture and Leadership Pillar of the Stars Plan, our Yirrkala Stars have been volunteering at PAWS for the past two years and our Nhulunbuy Stars have been visiting every Friday.

The girls feed and water the animals, exercise the dogs and play with the cats, and clean out the pens and litter trays. They also water the garden during their visits.

Volunteering at the shelter has  built the girls’ confidence around animals, especially the larger dogs, and being relied upon has further developed their sense of responsibility.

And all the cuddles have definitely enhanced their wellbeing!

Encouraging our Stars

To encourage our Stars to be their best, we reward students who consistently demonstrate the Stars values – Respect, Honesty, Commitment and Pride – and attend school regularly.

Some of our awesome Tennant Creek Stars were recently rewarded with a Canoeing Camp at Lake Woods in Elliott this week.

The girls learnt a range of new skills, including canoeing, setting up and maintaining a tidy camp site, and making damper and tasty Johnny cakes.

While they were there, representatives from both the women’s and men’s Collingwood Football Club teams visited the camp, joining in on a swim and canoeing with the girls.

Other highlights included sitting around the campfire yarning, singing, dancing and telling stories – as well as getting down and dirty with some fun mud baths!

Joined by girls from Elliot School, the girls also had a great opportunity to make new friends.

 

Taste of Outback Farm Life

A taste of life on an outback farm was on the menu for girls in our Year 7 Townsville programs during a recent combined camp at Virginia Park Station, a working cattle station near Charters Towers.

The students took part in some farm activities, including horse riding, cow milking, calf branding and orienteering, which gave them an exposure to the realities of farm life in the Australian outback.

The camp presented the girl with an opportunity to work on some important personal attributes – resilience, teamwork and leadership – as well as strengthening their bonds with one another and their Stars Mentors.

Stars Foundation
To support and enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls and young women to make active choices towards realizing their full potential in all aspects of their development and wellbeing.