Over the past year, Save the Children’s Youth Program in Kununurra has strengthened the existing programs and created exciting new projects. Glam Girls, an educational and recreational program for female youth, and Kid's Rock, a music program for male youth, have continued to provide opportunities for local young people to gain new skills in a positive group environment. The Waringarri Chilling Space, an evening drop-in centre for local at-risk youth, has quickly become a popular engagement activity.
Glam Girls has met regularly, every Wednesday evening, over the past year. With 10 - 20 attending (aged between 12 and 17), it has provided an effective opportunity for the participants to learn about and discuss important issues such as health, nutrition and fitness; sexual health awareness; self esteem and personal development; and group engagement and leadership skills. There has also been the opportunity to expand into other areas – including regular cane-toad-busting sessions!
Kid's Rock has also continued to regularly engage local male youth through music. With guitars, drums and microphones, and capable musical mentors coming in from the community, Kid's Rock participants have worked hard to build up their musical repertoire. Over the past year, they have had several performances, with some big events coming up in the near future. Through this program, participants have developed not only musical skills, but also developed greater self-confidence, team-work and leadership abilities, and developed positive relationships with other participants and mentors from the community.
Waringarri Chilling Space
A year ago, in consultation with the local community, Save the Children established the Waringarri Chilling Space. Open five nights per week from 5.30pm to 9.00pm, it is designed as a safe space for local youth that is free from violence, alcohol and other substances. The centre initially received about 20 local youths each evening, aged between 5 and 17 years old. However, that number quickly expanded – and the centre now regularly receives between 30 and 70 youths each evening. The space is staffed by Indigenous staff and local volunteers, encouraging participants to develop positive relationships with these older mentors. There is a range of activities available, including dancing and music; laptop and desktop computers (equipped with internet and games); and table tennis and table soccer. Other regular activities include art and painting; cooking and related nutrition education; outdoor sporting activities (even through the wet season!); reading; playing games; and, of course, many shoulder rides. When staffing permits, smaller groups of kids are taken out for rides – especially for toad-busting. At the end of each evening, staff drive the kids home. This program enables Save the Children to provide a safe space for local youth as an alternative to the unsafe practice of roaming local streets at night. Staff are often able to identify children who require a little extra assistance – including helping the child and his or her parent to visit the local health service to follow up on any health concerns.
It has been an exciting year within the Youth Program – with high levels of meaningful engagement with local Indigenous youth. Save the Children has a great team of indigenous staff members building positive relationships with program participants, mentoring and guiding these future leaders of the community. The result has been the positive and regular engagement and support of local youth, and in so doing, helps them develop the confidence and skills to choose their own future.
Save the Children will continue to run all these programs. In particular, staff are keen to expand a camp program with Waringarri Chilling Space participants, with a particular focus on cultural education and activities, and on developing relationships between the participants and elders of the community. Save the Children will continue to find ways to support staff, strengthen existing programs, and find new ways to reach out to local indigenous youth in a positive and effective way.
Visiting the Project
There are opportunities to see some of Save the Children’s positive work – for example, at public performances of Kid's Rock. You can also visit Save the Children’s office in Kununurra to further discuss some of our local youth projects.
This project will cover:
Workshop materials, staff and travel costs for several activities
within the Kununurra Youth Health Program for 12 months. These
- Glam Girls; an educational and
recreational group run for female youth at risk focusing on issues of self
esteem, positive decision making and health and well-being
- Kids Rock; Music and art workshops for young men in response to the lack of alternatives to sports program for young men in Kununurra.
- Waringarri “Just Chilling” Child and Youth Safe Space: A safe space with positive recreational activities for young people after hours.
The program has three strategic focuses designed to respond to the range
of youth needs and issues in Kununurra. In each of these
areas the focus will be on creating positive outcomes for local
youth; including increasing community engagement, increasing community
support for young people and increasing youth access to social services
Across all of these strategic areas we will work to ensure that our
programs, services and methods are culturally appropriate and relevant,
reflecting the fact that in Kununurra and surrounding communities the
majority of young people at risk are Indigenous and the majority of
young Indigenous people are at risk.
Focus 1: Youth leadership and social
Programs and activities focusing on youth
leadership and social engagement will provide young people with the
opportunity to play a vital role in the Save the Children East Kimberley
offices assisting in the development of policies, facilities, programs
Focus 2: Engagement and prevention
range of programs designed to encourage the participation of young
people in activities that promote their social and emotional well-being
and provide a safe place for young people to be positively engaged in
the community. Programs and activities under this heading will encompass
a range of activities such as sport and recreation, cultural activities
and creative or arts based activities.
Focus 3: Early intervention and
and advocacy for youth at risk of abuse, neglect and discrimination.
Working with local partners and stakeholders we will develop systems and
procedures for referrals to local health services providers, as well as
working with these health service
providers to increase the cultural relevance of their programs and services.
By comparison to their non-Indigenous counterparts, Indigenous children
are almost three times as likely to die before their first birthday,
two-thirds will not finish secondary school and on average they will die
20 years earlier than the wider Australian population.
Many young Indigenous people growing up in the East Kimberley do not have opportunities to live in a safe environment, learn essential life-skills, find meaningful work and participate in their culture and community. Without a strong connection to community, education, recreation and employment pathways, young people are both socially and economically marginalised.
When young people lack a sense of connection and support from the community they are more likely to engage in risk taking behaviour including substance abuse as well as being at increased risk of self harm, anti-social behaviour and juvenile detention. Additionally, many youth in the East Kimberley region are at increased risk for a number of negative health outcomes due to the lack of opportunity to learn positive life skills regarding health and well being, and a lack of positive role modelling of these skills. Prevalent health issues include STIs, teenage pregnancy, substance misuse, self harming behaviours, renal failure and diabetes. All of these are contributing factors to the large difference in life expectancy for Indigenous versus non-indegenous people.
Local partnerships and community involvement
The Kununurra Youth Development program was borne out of consultation with local organisations, families and young people to identify key issues and possible solutions. The program works in partnership with a variety of local stakeholders including local Indigenous organisations, local schools and TAFE, and employment agencies to deliver activities based on existing strengths. Save the Children has built capacity and sustainability of both our programs through employing and training youth mentors and local community members. Save the Children also seeks to draw on local resources where possible to increase community ownership of the program and sustainability.