A Life Changing Experience

One of the two  Year 12 Casuarina Stars who travelled to South Australia to participate in the Santos Karnkanthi Engineering School program at Adelaide University recently described it as ‘a life changing experience’.

‘I was going to take a gap year, but now I’m just going to go straight to uni!’ she said.

The other student said her time at Adelaide University ‘was really eye opening, we had some amazing experiences.’

Stars places a strong emphasis on encouraging our students to explore employment and further education opportunities before leaving secondary school and supporting them to make a successful transition.

At Adelaide University, the young women participated in a range of practical activities to develop their engineering skills, as well as attending lectures and even sitting a mock exam.

They said that one of the highlights was getting an opportunity to climb the Adelaide football oval stand and spend some time talking to the architect who designed it.

On returning to school, the young women were so enthused that they even managed to convince a fellow student, who never thought she could, to go to university next year.

That’s what Stars is all about – helping First Nations girls and young women to see what’s possible and supporting them to realise their full potential.

Rewarding Attendance

Regular school attendance is critical to learning. Stars encourages attendance in many ways and the girls and young women in our programs who attend school regularly are rewarded for their commitment.

Years 8 & 9 Heatley Stars who achieved an attendance rate of 90 per cent or above and consistently displayed the Stars values – Respect, Honesty, Commitment, Pride – throughout Semester 1 were taken on a camp to the Atherton Tablelands recently.

Not only was the camp a recognition of their effort, it also gave our Stars an opportunity to engage in activities they’d never done before, including camping and horse riding, which well and truly got them out of their comfort zones!

Our Stars were lucky enough to go on the Mamu Tropical Sky Wal,k where they heard from Alf Joyce, an Elder of the Mamu people, they also visited Milla Milla Waterfall and the Tolga Bat Hospital.

It was great to see the girls pushing themselves beyond what they thought they could do and achieving success!

Tennant Creek Stars Host Expo

Our amazing Tennant Creek Stars played the multiple roles of gracious hosts, ambassadors and facilitators at the Tennant Creek Early Years Expo 2019 last week.

The Expo was designed to let the local community know more about the early years facilities and services in the region, as well as showcase the many career opportunities in the sector.

Hundreds of local community members and service providers flooded through the doors of the Civic Centre, where they were greeted by a Stars student before exploring the Expo.

There were range of stalls and activities on offer, including a treasure hunt, craft, language lessons, dancing and a lunch of yummy kangaroo stew.

Our Stars showed impressive confidence and leadership skills as Expo hosts, drawing on all four pillars of the Stars Plan and representing our organisation with pride.

AFL Diversity Match

Thuringowa and Heatley Stars were lucky enough to take part in the AFL Diversity Match held in Townsville recently.

The Diversity Match was designed to engage under 16 girls from diverse backgrounds in AFL and to encourage those who’d never played before to give it a go.

Stars Foundation worked in partnership with AFL Queensland and AFL Townsville to prepare the young women for the game.

As part of their preparation, they played in an invitational team in the Schools Tournament in Townsville, where they won two out of three games.

The day before the Diversity match, our Stars had the fantastic opportunity to attend a training session run by the Gold Coast Suns Talent ID Manager and two Gold Coast Suns players.

On the day, our team participated in the Diversity Match with dedication and commitment, and although they didn’t win, they showed brilliant teamwork and learnt many new skills.

It was great to see the bonds of friendship that developed between the girls from two of our programs and observe their obvious pride in being part of Stars Foundation.

Flying High

As part of National Reconciliation Week some of our Darwin Stars were invited to abseil and rock climb with 1st Combat Signal Regiment at Robertson Barracks.

Understandably, our young women were pretty daunted when they arrived and looked up to see a 25-metre tower all ready for them to climb!

But, after being kitted up with safety equipment and given a briefing by Defence personnel, they climbed to the top of the tower ready to abseil back down.

It was an extremely challenging for many of our young women, but this thrilling, adrenaline-pumping experience held some important life lessons, including the importance of facing and overcoming fear, showing courage and leadership, and having trust.

Year 10 Stars, Jayde Cunningham, said she was glad to have been able to have the experience, even though it was tough:

“When we arrived, I thought it was going to be easy, because it didn’t look so high and I have abseiled before, but it was indoors and not as high. After the safety prep when we got up the top my heart dropped to the ground! I thought, I don’t want to die, today is not my day!! Sam Arnold went first without any fear and she made it look easy! Then it was my turn. Suddenly the fear came over me and I started to panic. I called out for Miss Katie and she, along with the instructor, calmed me down. I asked Miss Katie to go first and then it didn’t seem so bad, so I moved over to the other side of the wall with a new instructor who assured me it was safe, and I’d be okay. Then I started going down slowly … I slipped and stared to panic about halfway down, but I knew there was only one way down! So, I closed my eyes and thought about being down on the ground to help me calm down. Before I knew it, I was safely touching the land! I felt good about overcoming my fear of the height, it was fun in the end, but I’m not sure if I’d like to do it again!”

Congratulations to all our Stars, and their Mentors, for taking on the challenge! We’re super proud of you all.

BOQ Supporting Our Stars

Stars is pleased to announce a new partner – Bank of Queensland (BOQ) – which generously hosted a fundraising lunch in Melbourne last week in support of our work.

The lunch was the first in a series of events being organised by BOQ to raise funds for Stars Foundation, with fundraising lunches also planned in Sydney and Brisbane. BOQ is also supporting Stars through its annual Cycle Tour, running from 21 to 22 June.

The Melbourne lunch was a fantastic success, with inspirational speeches from AFL Indigenous legend and Stars Regional Manager, Michael ‘Magic’ McLean, and Stars Founder and CEO Andrea Goddard.

Michael spoke about his extraordinary career as an elite football player, which began in 1982 when, at the age of 16, he was recruited by the then Footscray Football Club and became the first Territorian to play in the VFL/AFL.

His inspirational leadership has continued post football, where he has captained, coached and inspired his people, as well as working for more than 20 years to support Indigenous youth at risk.

Andrea spoke about the journey she undertook to establish Stars Foundation and her determination to develop a program that would provide the highest level of support and mentoring to Indigenous girls and young women.

Stars is immensely grateful to BOQ for their generous support of our work in supporting the education, health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls and young women.

Art Inspired by Culture

Year 12 Haileybury Rendall School Star and budding artist, Phylisia Palipuaminni, opened the much the much anticipated annual VCAL Art Exhibition with a moving speech and acknowledgement of country last night.

Phylisia’s beautiful paintings were inspired by her community on the Tiwi Islands and every painting done by the class had meaningful stories behind them, reflecting their communities, culture, Totems or Dreamings.

The artworks were created by the VCAL class over 15 weeks and were brought together for the exhibition and a silent auction.

The students raised over $2000, which they will put towards any expenses that arise this year in the VCAL class, including obtaining driver’s licences and Ochre Cards, and doing first aid courses and other workshops.

Exploring Opportunities in Health

Exploring work and training opportunities in the health sector was the focus for VCAL Stars from Haileybury Rendall School recently, when they were taken on a visit to Charles Darwin University.

The young women were given an introduction to some of the opportunities available in health studies at the university, meeting with some Lecturers who gave them an insight into all the different areas available to study.

They also spent some time in a university classroom hearing from the Head of Nursing, who explained what our young women could expect if they decided to study at Charles Darwin University after completing Year 12.

Next stop was another classroom, which was set up as an Emergency Room with simulated bodies and all the medical supplies and equipment that are used when a patient arrives in the ER.

Our Stars enjoyed trying out all the equipment, but they were especially drawn to the simulated ‘test baby, which they all wanted to hold and fuss over!

A fantastic opportunity for our Stars to learn more about the many and varied opportunities available to them in the health sector.

Reward for Achieving Goals

Katherine Stars who achieved their attendance and behaviour goals were lucky enough to be taken on an engagement camp to Jabiru and Kakadu National Park recently.

They participated in a range of cultural experiences, including the cruise along Yellow Water Billabong, where they confidently shared their cultural backgrounds and knowledge of country with the local tour guide and tourists.

After the cruise, our young women enjoyed an art class with local Bininj people and then took some time to explore Kakadu’s popular Burrungkuy (Nourlangie), which is known for its World Heritage rock art, colourful birdlife and fantastic walks and lookouts.

The process of setting attendance and behaviour goals and then reaching them was very satisfying for the girls, as it showed them that if they try hard, they can achieve what they want to achieve.

We know that, with the encouragement and support of Stars and their families, these young women can do anything!

Sharing Bush Recipes

Some of our Jabiru Stars, who are studying Tourism at school, took part in the annual Taste of Kakadu festival last week.

Our young women led bush cooking demonstrations for families, fellow students and tourists to the region. Delicacies included buffalo tongue, green ant salt, file snake, fish, damper,and much more!

The students worked hard for weeks to prepare the cooking site, source the bush ingredients and practise their public speaking skills.

Taste of Kakadu is a bush food experience unlike any other and it was wonderful to see our young women confidently sharing their families’ favourite recipes!

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.