New pilot program to reconnect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children with their culture

Today we’re excited to launch a new education program ‘Connecting to Culture’ designed to reconnect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people in our out of home care services with their culture.

Connect to Culture is a nine week pilot program for 12 to 17 year olds held weekly for the rest of the school term and will provide opportunity for young people to take part in and observe Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture in a variety of forms – art, dance, food, relationships, protocols and connection to the land and sea.

Why culture matters

Culture gives context and meaning to a person’s life: it is a filter through which we process the experiences and events in our lives and it influences our values, actions and expectations of ourselves and others.

Positive cultural experiences have proven results for children and young people including improved resilience, higher self-esteem and improved coping mechanisms which better equip them throughout their life.

The experience of Connecting to Culture

Over the nine weeks young people will unpack the elements of culture by exploring dreamtime, visiting sites of cultural significance including Ngutana-Lui and uncovering the meaning and symbols of traditional art and how it was used in traditional practice.

Churches of Christ Cares Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement Leader says “It is really important for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to be connected to land and sea. We are fortunate to have access to part of the Logan River at our CYCLE program so we cleared some overgrown and underused space to create a peaceful learning environment.”

A yarning circle has also been established at CYCLE in anticipation for the success and ongoing commitment made to the pilot program.

The Yarning circle is an important process within Aboriginal culture and Torres Strait Islander culture. It has been used by Indigenous peoples for centuries to learn from a collective group, build respectful relationships, and to preserve and pass on cultural knowledge.

Churches of Christ Care General Manager says “We expect great things from Connecting to Culture and in the future will be looking to run the program more frequently and invite young people from all of our services to be involved.”

The bigger issue: the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out of home care

Currently 43% of children in out of home care identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and considering Indigenous people make up 6-8% of the total Queensland population this is significant over representation.

Early this year, Churches of Christ Care made a pledge to the Family Matters Campaign which exists to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people grow up safe and cared for in family, community and culture.

“The best way to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out of home care today do not endure the same sense of loss of identity and dislocation from family and community as the Stolen Generation is to actively support them to maintain or re-establish their connection to family, community, culture and country.” SNAICC on the purpose of cultural support plans

Believe and achieve education program

Churches of Christ Care’s CYCLE – Believe and Achieve education program provides direct education support to young people in out-of-home care who are shown to be at higher risk of disengagement or exclusion from mainstream or alternative education.

 

Posted October 16, 2018 in News