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

Our East Arnhem Stars’ commitment to volunteering at the Nhulunbuy Pet and Animal Welfare Shelter (PAWS) all year was recognised at a Volunteer Thank You celebration.

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 sense of 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 in Townsville Tournament

Last week our Thuringowa and Heatley Stars combined forces to participate in the Garbutt Magpies High School Cup AFL Tournament in Townsville.

The Garbutt Magpies have a long tradition of providing strong and positive role models for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in the Townsville community.

In the lead up to the tournament, our Heatley Stars were lucky enough to be able to sharpen their skills in training sessions run by AFL Townsville’s Kathleen Newman and high-profile AFLW Adelaide Crows player Sally Riley.

All of our Stars performed well on the day and some even had the thrill of being interviewed by local Indigenous radio station, 4K1G. Too deadly!

Participation in the tournament gave our Stars an opportunity to be immersed in a local community event, develop their leadership capabilities and learn new skills.

Landbridge Supporting Our Stars

Year 12 Haileybury Rendall School Star, Courtney Huddleston, was lucky enough to be hosted by Landbridge for a tour of the Fort Hill Wharf in Darwin recently.

After an introduction by Landridge representative, Kerry Small, which focused on the organisation’s  partnership with Stars Foundation and explored some of the employment opportunities available, Courtney met with Pilot Vessel Manager Rob Smith and some crew members. She was then taken on a personal tour of the pilot vessels.

Courtney was excited to be able to get a close-up look at some of the Navy ships from China, India, The Philippines and Australia and enjoyed being photographed with the crew members and captains!

Courtney is interested in pursuing a career in the automotive field and Landbridge is keen to host her on another visit to more deeply explore opportunities in this area.


Exploring Study and Career Options

The recent Skills Employment & Careers Expo in Darwin gave our Dripstone Stars an opportunity to explore tertiary and vocational education options and learn about employment and career opportunities both near and far.

The girls enjoyed exploring the hospitality industry stand, where they were able to test their cupcake icing skills with the convention centre catering division. Turns out, icing cupcakes is much harder than it looks!

They also spent some time speaking to the NT Police and learning about the various jobs that are available, including auxiliary services, youth engagement and Aboriginal community policing roles.

One of their last stops was the Australian Defence Force stand, where they discovered a ‘Gap Year’ program that allows ‘recruits’ to try out the armed forces for one year on a paid scholarship. The girls couldn’t believe the broad range of  opportunities in the ADF, ranging from engineers, pilots and infantry to cooking for the troops as a chef!

One of our Stars, who is already actively involved with Defence as a participant in the Cadets Program, encouraged her fellow Stars to jump on board, explaining the various outdoor camps and fun weekly obstacle courses she completes as part of her involvement in the program.

The expo was a wonderful chance for our young women to check out the the various university and vocational pathways open to them and are now eager to prepare for the next chapter in their educational journey.


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.