Boosting identity, esteem

A SERIES of mentor-supported workshops at Wingham High School late last year helped a group of female Aboriginal students in Years 7-10 feel "part of something."

According to Aboriginal education officer, Carissa Campbell the aim of the SistaSpeak workshops was to support and inspire the students to pursue their education, examine career options and work towards financial independence.

It also aimed to increase their self-esteem and to strengthen their sense of identity, culture and connection to community. 

"All the workshops, including excursions had specific learning objectives and were designed to continually reinforce positive aspects of the students throughout the program," said Carissa. 

An important part of this program was working with Indigenous role models who provided the students with examples of the diversity for possible careers and highlight options which they may not have otherwise been aware of.

The students visited Beautique on Bella in Isabella Street, where owner Brooke Yarnold, a former student gave up her time and provided a workshop for the students.

Brooke shared her story and spoke in depth to the students about the importance of good skin care, careers in the beauty industry and applying makeup.

After learning more about career options and preparedness from careers advisor Shirley Clissold, the students faced their fears at Tree Top Adventure Park in Newcastle.

Taking part in a day of physical and mental challenges the students worked together to challenge and achieve things they never thought they could.

Great teamwork, courage and confidence were shown by all the students.

It was a thrilling end to the program with a surfing lesson from Saltwater Surf School. 

"The smiles on their faces and the sound of laughter when they succeeded in standing up were a priceless moment for them, the mentors and the staff involved," said Carissa.

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