Growing next generation of young indigenous leaders

A research and training project that will help indigenous teenagers develop the leadership skills needed to run a youth "safe space" in Coolgardie has been awarded $92,900 in funding from the Channel 7 Telethon Trust.

Researchers from the University of Notre Dame Australia will work in partnership with community organisation Millennium Kids, the Judumul Aboriginal Corporation, the Shire of Coolgardie and WA Police Force to deliver 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 the leadership training includes short courses offered through TAFE, as well as mentoring and guidance from local Elders.

"The participants will also act as co-researchers by collecting data to help determine how leadership can be most effective in a region with strong cultural stories matching millennia of living in the Great Western Woodlands," Associate Professor Wooltorton said.

"Through this partnership, we are seeking to fill a major gap in existing educational research relating to the delivery of culturally appropriate learning that could one day be utilized across the State in a wide variety of contexts."

Millennium Kids CEO Catrina Aniere said it was an exciting project that builds on several years of working with young people alongside Aboriginal Elders, Coolgardie Police, Judumul Aboriginal Corporation and Nutha Way, a project of The Law Society.

"With Millennium Kids, Media on Mars, University 2 Community, and Nulungu Research Institute, the relationships we've developed will ensure young people have a say about the community they live in, the skills they want to learn and the way they want to learn," Ms Aniere said.

While work continues to secure further 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.

The trainee leaders will be responsible for ordering grocery items, meal planning, budgeting, cooking and cleaning as part of their overall leadership. Young children will also be encouraged to help out and learn in the kitchen, where they can be introduced to new food varieties and learn about nutrition.

The children will also be encouraged to work with local police to establish a bush tucker garden that will supply some raw ingredients to the kitchen.

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