Walking Against Violence

In the searing tropical heat, more than twenty of our Nhulunbuy Stars last week walked 10 kms as part of ‘Support the Walk’, a local initiative raising awareness of family violence and the need for more safe spaces and shelters in the region.

Kicking off with a BBQ breakfast in the small community of Gunyangara, our young women walked to Nhulunbuy alongside community members and representatives from local businesses and NGOs.

It was an incredible feat on behalf of both the community and our Stars, who managed the walk with very few complaints, despite the intense heat of the sun.

So proud of our young women for giving back to their community and supporting such an important cause.

Unleashing Their Inner Scientist

Our Year 8 and 9 Pimlico Stars were able to unleash their inner scientist at Townsville’s Museum of Tropical Queensland this week.

The Museum’s ‘Sciencentre’ is a discovery zone designed to allow students to explore the world of science and discover how science challenges the human body, exercises the brain and stimulates the senses.

They went Biking with Boney, where they learnt about how the body works and how our joints move. Then it was on to Bullseye, where they challenged each other and tested the speed and accuracy of their throw, and Disappearing Body, where they couldn’t believe what they were seeing!

Each activity encouraged our Stars to follow their curiosity, ask questions, test their ideas and use their imaginations in a hands-on way.

They were able to challenge their friends, solve puzzles and learn about how science is part of our everyday lives.

 

Making a Difference

Year 10 Jabiru Star, Letisha Lami Lami, recently completed her Practioner Training in 3a – the Abecedarian Approach Australia – as part of her Certificate II in Community Studies.

The 3a approach aims to provide practitioners with a range of evidence-based techniques designed to support the personal, social and academic development of very young children.

This qualification means that Letisha will now be able to implement evidence-based teaching strategies when she works with children in the Families as First Teachers (FaFT) program.

FaFT is an early learning and family support program specifically designed to improve developmental outcomes for remote Indigenous children by working with families and children before they start school.

Letisha is now undertaking a school-based apprenticeship and we are super proud of her. We know she will make a difference!

Little Sisters, Big Sisters

Every Wednesday, junior students from Years 4, 5 and 6 at Nhulunbuy Primary School join their ‘big sister’ Stars for an afternoon of fun activities.

These sessions are designed to familiarise the younger girls with Stars and help them bond with Mentors and older Stars students.

Our amazing Middle Years students act as big sisters to the younger girls and help them understand that high school isn’t as scary as they might think!

Activities range from swimming, picnics at local waterholes and cook ups, to arts and crafts, dinners and hunting activities.

Last week, the girls had an afternoon beach picnic where they went fishing and searched for perwinkles in the wet sand.

Paying Tribute

Stars across our programs – from Townsville and Darwin to Tennant Creek and Jabiru – participated in Anzac Day commemorations this year.

Our young women took part in dawn services and marches in their local communities to pay tribute to and remember those who have served.

Some were even lucky enough to meet the Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Opposition Leader Bill Shorten!

Stars In Victoria

Stars opened two new programs in Mildura this year – the first for Indigenous girls in Victoria – and we are already seeing some fantastic student outcomes with current participants as the programs develop.

At Chaffey Middle School, the attendance rate for Stars students for Term 1 was very high at 91 per cent, significantly higher than the whole school attendance rate for the same period.

At Mildura Senior College, our Year 11 and 12 Stars recorded an excellent attendance rate of 89 per cent, as compared to a whole school Indigenous attendance rate of 81 per cent.

At the beginning of term, it was fabulous to see our Year 7 and 8 students begin their journey with Stars, taking enthusiastic part in their first induction day.

They enjoyed some fun activities, including ten-pin bowling, a shared lunch and a reflective walk along the riverfront with their Mentors.

This day of bonding gave our new students a chance to develop stronger relationships with each other and their Mentors, as well as learn more about Stars and our values – Respect, Honesty, Commitment and Pride.

A big welcome to all of our Mildura Stars!

Stars On Their Way

At Stars we focus strongly on supporting our young women to complete Year 12, but it doesn’t end there. We also provide intensive post-school support to ensure that our young women move successfully into further education or employment.

In 2018, Stars Foundation supported 90 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young women to stay in school and complete Year 12 – a total of 97 per cent of our senior students across all programs.

This is an outstanding result, especially when you consider the national Year 12 completion rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was just 65 per cent in 2016. In remote locations, where many of our programs operate, the figure was as low as 43 per cent (Closing the Gap Report 2019).

As of March 2019, we are thrilled to say that 81 per cent of our 2018 Year 12 graduates have moved successfully into employment, training or tertiary education. The 19 per cent of young women looking for work are being supported in their search by our Transitions Managers.

 

 

 

A Day in the Life

‘A Day in the Life’ is an exciting initiative designed to give our Tennant Creek senior Stars a closer insight into a future work role that has sparked their interest.

The initiative aims to help students better understand the pathway to the career, get some realistic exposure to the work environment, and be better informed on the daily responsibilities of the job.

In Term 1, our first ‘Day in the Life’ student was Shakira, who spent some time in the shoes of Tennant Creek Aboriginal Community Police Officer, Whitney Roe.

First, Shakira was taken on a tour of the Tennant Creek Police Station and shown through several police vehicles. She also learnt how the station manages its Watch House.

Shakira also had an opportunity to speak with some other police officers, including Senior Detective Kyle Gunderson, an Indigenous man from the Tiwi Islands and Tennant Creek.

Shakira was later exposed to Whitney’s role as a School-Based Constable, joining her on a student engagement session at Tennant Creek Primary School.

“We talked to the junior students about the importance of school and Shakira showed fantastic leadership and spoke very well with the students,” Whitney said.

“Aboriginal Community Policing is a fantastic job and it has helped me become a strong leader for my family and other Indigenous women.”

Shakira says speaking with the students at the school was a highlight.

“It was good to be able to tell them about the great things they can achieve with an education. It also showed me that being a police officer means being a positive role model and a leader in your community.”

“Before spending the day with Whitney, I didn’t know much about the Aboriginal Community Police Officers (APCOs) group. I think it’s a good idea to have people in these roles who know and understand the communities they are working with.”

Shakira was delighted to be able to explore more deeply the role of a police officer and says she is now much better informed about what she needs to do prior to completing Year 12, including getting some work experience and gaining her driver’s licence.

Whitney will be following up the visit and Shakira’s interest in joining the force by providing her with further information and referrals to join the NT Junior Cadet Police Academy in the NT.

Prevention and Awareness

The Stars program encourages Indigenous young women to take charge of their personal wellbeing and safety.

Last week, some of our Casuarina Senior College Stars were taken to Royal Darwin Hospital to participate in the P.A.R.T.Y (Prevent Alcohol and Risk-Related Trauma in Youth) program.

The program focuses on prevention and awareness and gives young people an opportunity to learn through vivid and emotional experience, learning from real people and their personal experiences.

Our young women heard directly from patients themselves and also from those involved in their treatment – paramedics, brain surgeons and the rehab team.

P.A.R.T.Y takes young people through the journey of a trauma patient as they are rushed through the doors of the trauma room, into surgery, rehab and – if they are lucky enough – on to recovery.

It aims to give students a chance to understand what happens when a young person makes a poor choice or decision that changes their life forever.

Inspiring our Stars

Our VCAL Stars at Haileybury Rendall School in Darwin recently heard from guest speaker Leanne Caton, CEO of Yilli Housing NT.

Yilli Housing is an Indigenous housing organisation that provides housing, municipal and infrastructure services to Indigenous people in Darwin and surrounding communities.

Leeanne is a Kalkadoon Woman who grew up in Darwin. She has family and cultural connections throughout the NT, SA, WA and Queensland and has worked in Aboriginal affairs for over thirty years.

Apart from her professional achievements, Leeanne is a Mother, Grandmother, Aunty, friend and a wonderful role model to the community.

Our young women were intrigued by her personal story and inspired by everything she has achieved in life.

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.