En­cour­age­ment to pur­sue dreams

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Education Week 2018 -

Hor­sham’s Danae Mcdon­ald is de­vel­op­ing skills for the fu­ture through a new youth lead­er­ship pro­gram de­signed to en­cour­age the next gen­er­a­tion of Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Straight Is­lan­der lead­ers to dream big.

The Bal­dau Yiooghen Youth Lead­er­ship Academy brings to­gether com­mu­nity, cul­tural and sport­ing groups to sup­port young Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der peo­ple as they strive to­wards their ed­u­ca­tional, em­ploy­ment and lead­er­ship goals. Bal­dau Yiooghen means ‘big dreams’ in Wu­rund­jeri lan­guage.

Danae, who is com­plet­ing year 12 at Hor­sham’s St Brigid’s Col­lege, was in­vited to share her ex­pe­ri­ences at an academy launch cer­e­mony in Mel­bourne.

Goolum Goolum Abo­rig­i­nal Co-op­er­a­tive chose Danae to be part of an academy pi­lot pro­gram.

“It has been one of the most re­ward­ing ex­pe­ri­ences in my life so far and has taken me to places I had never dreamed I would go,” she said.

The pi­lot pro­gram in­cluded vis­its to Mel­bourne and Dar­win.

Danae said mak­ing a con­nec­tion with Essendon Foot­ball Club was a high­light.

“Be­ing able to sit down in an in­for­mal sit­u­a­tion with the play­ers that you see ev­ery week on the TV was amaz­ing,” she said.

“I learnt that they are just like you and me, they were young kids like us who had big dreams and with some hard work had been able to achieve them.”

Danae said the pro­gram ex­ceeded her ex­pec­ta­tions.

“If I’m com­pletely hon­est I saw it as a chance to go away from home for a week and get out of some classes,” she said.

“What it turned out to be was an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence that has seen my lead­er­ship skills grow, my con­fi­dence ex­pand, and it has given me the courage to try new things.

“If it hadn’t have been for this pro­gram I would never have self-nom­i­nated for my school lead­er­ship group or given the re­quired speech to my peers.

“I have also started pro­vid­ing a wel­come to coun­try at im­por­tant school assem­blies and other key com­mu­nity events.

“I would strongly en­cour­age any­one of­fered the chance to par­tic­i­pate in this pro­gram to go for it – yes, you’ll be taken out of your com­fort zone, but the ben­e­fits will far out­weigh the neg­a­tives.

“It is, how­ever, a case of you get out of it what you put in to it.”

Michael Long’s The Long Walk char­ity and Angli­care Vic­to­ria fa­cil­i­tate the Bal­dau Yiooghen Youth Lead­er­ship Academy.

The project in­volves Abo­rig­i­nal or­gan­i­sa­tions in­clud­ing Goolum Goolum and links young peo­ple with com­mu­nity El­ders and in­dus­try and cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ences with part­ner or­gan­i­sa­tions.

Angli­care Vic­to­ria com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment man­ager David Law said fol­low­ing a suc­cess­ful pi­lot pro­gram, the launch sig­ni­fied the col­lab­o­ra­tion of or­gan­i­sa­tions to of­fer the next gen­er­a­tion of Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der lead­ers’ guid­ance and en­cour­age­ment to achieve their fu­ture goals.

“Bal­dau Yiooghen is all about pro­mot­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for young Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der peo­ple so they will achieve their full po­ten­tial,” he said.

“The or­gan­i­sa­tions in­volved pro­vide in­valu­able op­por­tu­ni­ties for all the young peo­ple who take part.

“Fol­low­ing the pro­gram, the young peo­ple re­turn to lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties and those over the age of 15 form a youth ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee to ad­vise the board at their lo­cal abo­rig­i­nal co-op­er­a­tive, as well as paid work ex­pe­ri­ence with one of the academy part­ners.

“They are also en­cour­aged to form a Youth Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee in their com­mu­nity.” The academy is the lat­est ac­co­lade for Danae. In 2016, she was awarded mem­ber­ship of the Kwong Lee Dow Young Schol­ars pro­gram through the Univer­sity of Mel­bourne and in 2017 won ac­cep­tance to Univer­sity of Ade­laide’s Karnkan­thi Schol­ar­ship pro­gram.

“It is my as­pi­ra­tion to at­tend the Univer­sity of Ade­laide next year to work to­wards my goal of be­com­ing an anaes­thetist,” Danae said.

Hor­sham’s Tan­isha Lovett also par­tic­i­pated in the pro­gram. She has landed a trainee­ship with Goolum Goolum and is com­plet­ing cer­tifi­cate IV in IT at Fed­er­a­tion Univer­sity. Her art­work fea­tured at the launch.

Danae Mcdon­ald

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