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What a term! Hear about what we've been up to. 👣


As we draw to the end of another term, I am writing to share the news that I am also nearing the end of my journey with Community Spirit Foundation.


Since joining the foundation nearly five years ago, I have had the opportunity to travel to Woorabinda, Palm Island, Galiwin’ku and Wurrumiyanga, where I have seen first-hand the strength and wisdom of our partner communities. It has been such an honour to see the richness of culture that exists within these remarkable places, and a joy to meet many of the young people who have taken part in our programs.


One of the best parts of my role as CEO has been to lead an amazing team of staff, who are delivering important and impactful work. You can read more about what they've been up to below.


If you’re able to support our work, you’ll also find a link below where you can donate to our 2022-23 tax appeal. The money you donate will go towards delivering our programs over the next 12 months and supporting First Nations young people to reach their potential.


I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your ongoing support of Community Spirit Foundation.


Jade Colgan

CEO, Community Spirit Foundation


 

A note from Community Spirit Foundation Chair Larissa Behrendt:


“Jade has been a central factor in the Foundation’s on-going success and has led the organisation through a period of transition. The Board are sad to see Jade depart but are grateful and thank her for her outstanding contribution. She has always brought passion and wisdom to the role, and we wish her all the best for her future endeavours.


The Community Spirit Foundation has already had a time of renewal and change over the last year and a half, transitioning to its new name and further consolidating our work. It has marked a significant time in our Foundation’s journey. We look forward to continuing to move ahead with strength and vibrancy with our clear strategic plan.


We look forward to a positive, strong, and impactful future for the Foundation; and ultimately the young First Nations people we work with.”


 

Support us this EOFY

We are proud to deliver a range of programs in our four partner communities and are committed to supporting First Nations young people to dream big and reach their potential. However, working in remote communities poses a range of logistical hurdles. Remote locations, costly and infrequent travel options, seasonal disruptions and unreliable internet and telecommunication services can make our work more challenging. These barriers, which young people in remote communities face everyday, are why our programs are so important. By making a tax-deductible donation to Community Spirit Foundation this EOFY, you can support us to deliver our life-changing programs. Donate for brighter futures at https://community-spirit-foundation-tax-appeal-2023.raisely.com Here's how your donation can help:


 

An adventure in Victoria

Last month, 15 year 5 and 6 students from our four partner communities made an epic journey to Victoria for a Horizons camp. The students learned about the local marine habitat, went fishing, combed the beach, went boogie boarding and swam. Despite the cold, many students enjoyed the opportunity to swim without the need to keep an eye out for the crocodiles, sharks or jellyfish they might encounter at home. A day of touring Melbourne included a tour of the MCG where they spent time on the hallowed ground and in the Sports Museum.

Students also participated in a series of workshops designed to encourage goal setting and peer-to-peer sharing. They discussed what it means, looks and sounds like to them to be a First Nations young person. And they shared their sense of pride and some of the challenges and barriers they experience.


 

Discovering Darwin


A group of years 7 and 8, from our four partner communities, travelled to Darwin this term as part of the Horizons program.


This camp focused on exploring the natural wonders of Darwin and its surrounds, with a particular focus on crocodiles. The students went rock climbing, went croc spotting on an eco-tour of the Mary River, explored the natural biodiversity of Litchfield National Park, visited Crocosaurus Cove animal park, admired the collections at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory and battled it out for fun in laser tag.


One of the key outcomes of Horizons camps is the opportunity for young people to meet other First Nations Peoples from remote communities. By the end of the week, students had made connections and learned about each others' cultures.


William, a student from Palm Island, boasted that he had even learned some Tiwi language.


 

Focusing on community engagement


Community engagement is a fundamental component of our work; without the support and trust of families, the broader network of Elders and service providers, and staff at our partner schools, our programs would be less effective and would not reflect the needs of community.


Our Community Engagement Coordinator, Geoff, works tirelessly to negotiate the barriers that hinder community engagement in the education of young people and access to employment services for parents and carers, and their teenagers.


While Geoff is based in Woorabinda, he is supporting CSF staff in Palm Island, Wurrumiyanga and Galiwin’ku. Earlier this month, he travelled with Sprints Passport Program Coordinator Samana to Palm Island to meet with the team and workshop ideas for program delivery, and to discuss ways to further engage with the community.


He plans to travel to the Northern Territory in October.


Geoff and Samana pictured in Palm Island with Keri (middle).

 

Year in review


2022 was a significant year in the foundation’s journey. COVID-19 disrupted the start of the year for many of our partner communities, but by the time 2022 rounded out we were back to full programming.


Most notably, 30 June marked the transition to our new name - Community Spirit Foundation - and the beginning of a new chapter for the foundation.


You can read about our achievements last year in our 2022 annual report.

 

"My son Apasio is enrolled with the Early Learning HIPPY program on Palm Island and is loving every bit of the journey so far. Apasio is the best big brother to his little sister Evaleah and brother Kapua.


Apasio enjoys doing the HIPPY books and always gets excited when it's time to do the activities within the packs when they get delivered to him. Since starting the HIPPY program, this has helped Apasio to speak more and now he speaks up as he's a very shy boy.


Apasio has learned so much from being in the HIPPY program. I'm looking forward to doing his last year within HIPPY as he will be graduating from the program this year. Apasio has come a long way within this program, especially with his speaking. I am very thankful to be doing the HIPPY program with my son with the Community Spirit Foundation as I know education is the key to his learning."


~ Rijisha Cummins-Luff, Palm Island parent


 

Honouring Elders this NAIDOC week


This year, NAIDOC week is dedicated to honouring our Elders, and the important role they play in communities and families.


Community Spirit Foundation pays homage to the men and women across Australia, including in our four partner communities, who hold cultural knowledge, guide young people, nurture communities and advocate for the rights of First Nations Peoples.


On a recent Horizons camp, 12-year-old Nathaniel summed up the role of Elders in his home on Palm Island:


"The Elders actually make the community; they represent the culture and the people around. And we represent the Elders."


If you're looking for ways to celebrate NAIDOC Week, 2-9 July 2023, visit the NAIDOC website.


 

Staff profile: Angelita


Senior Program Coordinator Angelita has had a busy start to the year; she's accompanied students on Horizons camps to Melbourne and Darwin.


Angelita said it was important the young people of Wurrumiyanga had the opportunity to experience other places and opportunities beyond their Tiwi Island home.


“Having experiences outside community is important, as the more you learn the more you grow,” she said.


“I’ve had the privilege of living in the city, so have experienced both worlds.


“The students look up to me, and I get to share that experience with them.”


Angelita’s travel is made possible by the appointment of two new team members, who support the delivery of in-school programs.


“The proudest achievement about my work is hiring two employees last year, who have helped deliver our programs,” she said.


“I think the biggest strength about the Tiwi team is the passion to work with Tiwi people to teach them about education and the opportunities for our younger generation."











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