Mentor boost for indigenous
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.
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.