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Strong culture, strong kids

First Nations youth learn about their culture through StarKids and World Vision.

“My name is Jarnae. I am in year 5 and I am 11 years old. My mobs are Dharawal and Wiradjuri. I have been in Young Mob for 1 year”.

Young Mob is a First Nations youth program that started in 2006 in Sydney, New South Wales by World Vision. Through the program, First Nations students build their understanding of their culture, and strengthen their skills for future work and study.

Mark is a facilitator in the Young Mob Program, often visiting schools to run the ten-week program, which is how he met Jarnae.

“At first, she was a bit shy to come up to me and have a yarn, even though she knew who I was before we started the session, she finally came up to me saying “I know you, I know you”. She knows me because I know who her family is, and she’s seen me in and around the community before,” he continues.

Mark uses the yarning circle to quickly establish a sense of belonging. “A great way was to demonstrate this (belonging) right off the bat is (by) making a yarning circle where you can see everyone…That’s the way we do learning in young mob, through coming together, yarning, creating things together and learning our histories.”

This approach clearly worked for Jarnae. By the time it was her turn to give her speech at the end of the program, she was so proud to stand up and speak.

“My favourite activity from Young Mob was the River of Respect because everyone was communicating. I like coming to the program because we get to learn about our culture instead of [just] learning about white people’s culture.”

For Jarnae, and many other First Nations young people, having a place to learn about their cultures is important, as schools and families are often unable to provide this. The Young Mob program provides a special place for this important learning to happen.