Men­tor boost for in­dige­nous

Pilbara News - - News - ■ Court­ney Fowler

True Blue Dream­ing Inc will re­ceive $375,000 un­der the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment’s In­dige­nous Ad­vance­ment Strat­egy grant round to de­liver a men­tor­ing pro­ject which will im­prove out­comes for in­dige­nous youth in the North West.

The not-for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion has of­fered men­tor­ing sup­port to young in­dige­nous peo­ple in ru­ral and re­mote ar­eas across the Pil­bara, Kim­ber­ley and Wheat­belt for the past decade.

Fed­eral Mem­ber for Du­rack Melissa Price said the pro­ject, to be de­liv­ered by True Blue Dream­ing, would pro­vide demon­stra­ble ben­e­fits for lo­cal in­dige­nous peo­ple in South Hed­land, Yande­yarra, Roe­bourne, Halls Creek and Derby.

“This will en­able groups of men­tors — who are pri­mar­ily in­dige­nous stu­dents at­tend­ing WA ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions, as well as some post-grad­u­ate stu­dents from the Telethon In­sti­tute for Child Health Re­search — to … en­gage in var­i­ous ac­tiv­i­ties with school stu­dents,” she said.

“The men­tors act as role mod­els and pro­vide in­for­ma­tion about postschool op­por­tu­ni­ties in ed­u­ca­tion, train­ing and em­ploy­ment.”

True Blue Dream­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive Bob South­well said one of the aims of the pro­gram was the mentees would even­tu­ally be­come men­tors and make the pro­gram self-sus­tain­ing.

“In the north, we have had a lot of kids come back as men­tors and this cy­cle is cre­at­ing an es­tab­lished men­tor­ing sup­port net­work in the com­mu­nity,” he said.

“It’s about the kids iden­ti­fy­ing op­tions for them­selves they may not have con­sid­ered with­out this con­nec­tion with a young role model.

“In­dige­nous so­ci­ety has had this tra­di­tion of men­tor­ing for thou­sands of years and the model works so well.”

“We find the kids come back to us when they re­alise how much of a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact their men­tors had on de­ci­sion-mak­ing a few years down the track.”

Mr South­well said the IAS fund­ing would largely cover men­tors’ travel costs and cul­tural train­ing.

“Due to the tyranny of dis­tance, the lo­gis­tics of get­ting vol­un­teers up here are huge,” he said.

Min­is­ter for In­dige­nous Af­fairs Nigel Scul­lion said the Gov­ern­ment’s in­vest­ment through the IAS grant round had in­creased from $860 mil­lion to $1 bil­lion, with 996 or­gan­i­sa­tions to re­ceive fund­ing for more than over 1350 projects through­out Aus­tralia.

Pic­ture: True Blue Dream­ing

Jar­ryn Dhu, Sam Schultz, Ash­ton Ramirez-Watkins, Danielle Thur­low, Naomi Ober, Skye Rich­mond and Ena Wa­ianga dur­ing a True Blue Dream­ing visit to South Hed­land Se­nior High School ear­lier this year.

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