Ac­cep­tance

Isis Town and Country - - Opinion -

Na­tional Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Week runs from May 27 to June 3. This year’s theme ‘Our His­tory, Our Story, Our Fu­ture’ fo­cuses on his­tor­i­cal ac­cep­tance and re­flects on the fact that the jour­ney to rec­on­cil­i­a­tion forms a sig­nif­i­cant part of Aus­tralia’s his­tory so it is im­por­tant that we keep rec­on­cil­i­a­tion in our thoughts as we move for­ward as a na­tion. Youth Off The Streets has con­tin­u­ally taken an ac­tive ap­proach when re­spond­ing to the needs of our Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­ni­ties, par­tic­u­larly the young peo­ple. Our ap­proach has al­ways been about iden­ti­fy­ing gaps in ser­vices avail­able to Abo­rig­i­nal youth, and es­tab­lish­ing the sup­port ser­vices that ful­fil their needs so we can build a bet­ter fu­ture for Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der Aus­tralians. Un­for­tu­nately, the Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der pop­u­la­tion still suf­fer from a lower life ex­pectancy, lower rates of lit­er­acy and gen­eral health and are over-rep­re­sented in the jus­tice sys­tem when com­pared to the non-in­dige­nous pop­u­la­tion. We are try­ing to close this gap by work­ing in part­ner­ship with Abo­rig­i­nal El­ders, lo­cal ser­vice providers, gov­ern­ment de­part­ments and com­mu­nity mem­bers with the aim of con­tin­ual and last­ing im­prove­ment in out­comes for the young peo­ple, fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties in­volved. This holis­tic ap­proach en­sures that we equip mem­bers of the com­mu­nity with the tools to cre­ate pos­i­tive change. Our vi­sion is for all com­mu­ni­ties to work within a spirit of co-op­er­a­tion; ac­cept­ing di­ver­sity, ac­knowl­edg­ing strengths and sup­port­ing each other. It’s now up to ev­ery­one to come to­gether and con­tinue to work for Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der equal­ity. Com­mit­ting ex­tra re­sources to clos­ing the gap as well as com­ing to­gether as a na­tion to recog­nise a group of peo­ple is an achiev­able goal for next year’s Na­tional Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Week.

Fa­ther Chris Ri­ley, CEO and Founder at Youth Off The Streets

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