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Indigenous youth lead the way

With the support of StarKids, Indigenous youth are gaining leadership skills.

When 15-year-old Sydney student Raymond Sarich joined the StarKids-supported Young Mob program he was no different from many teenagers; he lacked self-confidence and didn’t see many options for his future.

A year on, his story has changed dramatically. The Darawal student demonstrates improved confidence, feels more connected and is learning more about his culture, and is stepping up to take on leadership roles to positively influence others.

Donations from Jetstar customers through StarKids are helping Young Mob to equip Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people with the skills and opportunities to build brighter futures for themselves, supporting them to connect to culture, strengthen leadership skills and improve self-confidence.

In a recent speech to a room of more than 100 government staff for NAIDOC celebrations, Raymond spoke about how the program had helped him.

“I like the feeling that I am accepted for who I am. It’s about the good things; the strong things and what the culture still has today. [Young Mob] allows young people like me to be at events like this. It creates opportunities that might not exist,” he said.

Raymond also attended a cultural exchange trip with the desert Martu in Western Australia’s Pilbara region. It was an experience he said strengthened his appreciation for other Aboriginal cultures.

“I like the way the Martu people live, they knew the land off by heart. Songlines* connect us. They connect all Aboriginal people. That’s what culture means to me. To be with family. To be connected. To be myself,” he said.

 

*Songlines carry significant spiritual and cultural connection to knowledge, customs, ceremony and Lore of many Aboriginal nations and Torres Strait Islander language groups. They can be recorded in traditional songs, stories, dance and art.

 

Image caption: Raymond on a Young Mob cultural exchange trip to Western Australia’s Pilbara region.