Improving education and health outcomes is central to breaking the cycle of poverty and disadvantage experienced by many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth. However, over recent years there has been limited investment in indigenous female youth programs.
Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women experience significantly worse health and social indicators when compared to their non-indigenous counterparts. Acknowledging that social and health determinants can be closely intertwined, it is critical that young women are holistically supported through their adolescent development to ensure maintenance of good physical health, mental wellbeing and success at school.
Stars Foundation was established in 2015 to address inequity and ensure that young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are provided with the education, opportunities and support necessary to live healthy and productive lives.
Stars Foundation will deliver wellbeing-focused weekend camps to around 400 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls aged 12-18 years. Participants will be selected based on their risk of disengaging from the education system, which in turn places them at greater future risk of economic insecurity and poor health and welfare outcomes.
A combination of mentors and selected experts will facilitate a range of workshops and activities during the two-day program, that focus on improving the health and wellbeing of participants, while also being fun and nurturing. The program will delve into health-focused topics that aim to improve the girls' health literacy, as well as their physical, mental, social and emotional wellbeing.
The weekend camp aims to empower participants to better cope with the many health and social challenges they may face and improve their social and emotional wellbeing. It will also work to further their understanding of what constitutes a healthy relationship.
The camps are a value adding activity to the intensive work Stars Foundation already delivers supporting Aboriginal young women to attend and succeed at school. Mentors will use these camps to strengthen existing relationships with participants and promote positive peer relationships, while communicating holistic health and wellbeing messages.
The young women attending the camps will use their increased knowledge of maintaining a physically and mentally healthy lifestyle to make positive lifestyle decisions in the future. Their support network of peers and ongoing mentor guidance will embed this behavior change long-term.