Governor and husband show artistic side
THE GOVERNOR of NSW Margaret Beazley and her husband Mr Dennis Wilson weren’t afraid to get their hands dirty when they made a visit to Indigenous notfor-profit organisation, Yarruwala Youth and Family Service, on Monday.
Her Excellency and Mr Wilson spent about an hour with participants and supporters of the service which strives to provide a pathway for vulnerable young people and adults who want to enter the workforce.
During the visit, four of the participants in attendance invited the Governor and Mr Wilson to add their hand print to a mural they had designed and created especially for the official visit.
“The mural features a goanna, which is the totem for the Wiradjuri people, and then they asked them to put their hand print on it in white paint which was a really lovely sentiment,” YYFS business manager Heidi Spratt told Dubbo Photo News.
“They (the Governor and Mr Wilson) thought it was a really lovely gesture and it gave the boys a bit of ownership over the ceremony and to put their stamp on what could sometimes be quite formal.”
Following the mural activity, the Governor and Mr Wilson were given a tour around the Old Fire Station, which is now Yarruwala’s new home.
They also spent a lengthy
amount of time speaking to the Yarruwala participants, getting to understand who they were and what they want to achieve.
“It was just really nice to see someone of their calibre take a genuine interest in these boys and find out a bit more about who they are and what their aspirations are,” Ms Spratt said.
“Their main objective really was to get to know those boys and understand them on a personal level, and find out a little bit more about what we do and what our challenges and successes are.”
One of the challenges the service does face when trying to
help participants transition into employment is obtaining a police check, often because the individuals simply do not have enough identification to access the check.
“She was a little bit blown away by that, so she would like to facilitate something at a very senior level for us to look at how we can combat that at a local level,” Ms Spratt said.
“Of course, there is privacy and laws involved, but she did say she would possibly look at facilitating a meeting or something with the police commissioner or his office because it’s an ongoing barrier to a lot of people entering the workforce.
“It was just something that we mentioned is passing as being an obstacle for us and she seemed very willing to help us at a high level.”
The YFFS was founded by local husband and wife team Robert “Gummy” and Kara Toomey in October 2018 after they realised that many established job-seeking services and the employment sector were not effectively engaging members of the Aboriginal community who often face a myriad of barriers when attempting to attain and maintain employment.
Rather than simply linking job seekers to an employer, YYFS offers a culturally safe place where participants are understood, nurtured and taught genuine skills to get them work-ready. It’s a transitional process from unemployment to sustainable employment.
NSW Governor Margaret Beazley with participants of Yarruwala Youth and Family Service on Monday. Inset, the mural created specially for Her Excellency’s visit.