[by Clarissa Carradine]
Follow The Dream students at the mental wellbeing and leadership workshop. Image supplied
Follow The Dream students focusing on healthy minds and healthy lives
70 Follow The Dream students in Perth participated in a mental wellbeing and leadership workshop - the Djerabiny Djin-Djin Koolangkas (Happy Good Spirit Youth) workshop - which was delivered by the Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation in collaboration with the Aboriginal Health Council of WA (AHCWA).
Students in Year 11 and 12 from Follow The Dream programs at Sevenoaks, Belmont and Mount Lawley gathered for the workshop at St Catherine’s College. All three programs are co-managed by the Foundation and the WA Department of Education, and proudly partnered by BHP. The day opened with a traditional Welcome to Country by Uncle Terry “Koodah” Cornwall who led a Smoking Ceremony, followed by a series of three sessions throughout the day to explore a range of strategies to become strong, healthy leaders.
Des Martin, Chief Executive of AHCWA, said: “This was a great opportunity to have multiple Perth-Metro schools bring together their senior Indigenous students and have them all in one location to offer the opportunity for them to develop their social skills and encourage leadership development, cultural connection, healthy relationships and personal development. It is always a pleasure working with and for our communities, and with such inspiring and motivated young Indigenous people. I look forward to seeing more of this event in the future.”
Brad Goodlet, Senior Program Manager at the Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation, commented: “The main goal of the workshop was to bring Follow The Dream students together to focus them on the year ahead, provide them with strategies to manage personal and school demands, help them develop leadership and goal setting skills,encourage them to take advantage of the wide-ranging opportunities available through Follow The Dream, and help them celebrate Noongar cultural heritage.”
In the first session - the Moorditj Moort Wiern (Good Family Spirit) session - students discussed ways in which to maintain a healthy balance across their cultural, emotional, mental and physical needs; how to identify and resolve conflict situations; and how to develop strategies for effectively dealing with stress.
Students also took part in a leadership development workshop, which kicked off by identifying the qualities of great leaders, family and friends, and themselves. The group then discussed current issues that are affecting young indigenous people and brainstorming how the community could overcome these.
For the Koolangka Boordiya (Youth Leader) session, the group looked at ways to support friends or family members who are managing mental health challenges and discussed what you need in order to live a healthy, happy life.
Alliya Taylor, Year 11 student from Belmont Follow The Dream, said she found the workshop and the speakers really motivational: “The workshop sessions have made me want to listen more and pay attention more. I now feel that I can do anything that I want to, which includes my dream of going to WAAPA and becoming an actor”.
In the evening, the students enjoyed a Sundowner at Matilda Bay where they shared an Indigenous themed smorgasbord of food provided by Bindi-Bindi Dreaming Catering and took part in some cultural entertainment led by respected Noongar man Phil Walley-Stack.
The workshop is the first step in a new partnership between the Foundation and AHCWA, with the overarching goal of supporting young Indigenous people with their health, well-being, leadership and personal development.
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