Training the next generation of young Indigenous leaders

A research and training project that will help Aboriginal teenagers develop the leadership skills needed to run a ‘safe space’ for young people in Coolgardie has received $92,900 in funding from the Channel 7 Telethon Trust.

Researchers from the University of Notre Dame Australia will work in partnership with the community organization Millennium Kids, the Judumul Aboriginal Corporation, the Shire of Coolgardie and the WA Police Force to provide support and training to an initial group of three teenagers who will oversee the development of the Coolgardie Aboriginal Youth Safe Space Project.

Notre Dame associate professor Sandra Wooltorton said leadership training includes short courses offered by TAFE, as well as mentorship and guidance from local elders.

“Participants will also act as co-researchers collecting data to help determine how leadership can be most effective in an area with strong cultural histories matching millennia of life in the Great Western Woodlands,” said Associate Professor Wooltorton.

“Through this partnership, we seek to fill a major gap in existing educational research regarding the delivery of culturally appropriate learning that could one day be used statewide in a wide variety of settings.”

Millennium Kids CEO Catrina Aniere said this is an exciting project that builds on years of working with young people alongside Indigenous elders, Coolgardie Police, Judumul Aboriginal Corporation and of Nutha Way, a Law Society project.

“With Millennium Kids, Media on Mars, University 2 Community and Nulungu Research Institute, the relationships we have developed will allow young people to have a say in the community they live in, the skills they want to learn and the how they want to learn,” said Ms. Aniere.

As work continues to secure additional funding for the safe space project, Judumul is providing access to a community kitchen for use by trainee leaders to cook healthy meals for local children.

Trainee chefs will be responsible for ordering groceries, meal planning, budgeting, cooking and cleaning as part of their overall leadership. Young children will also be encouraged to help and learn in the kitchen, where they can experience new varieties of food and learn about nutrition.

Children will also be encouraged to work with local police to establish a bush garden which will provide raw ingredients for cooking.

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