Last year I was asked by a good friend of mine, if I would get involved with a brilliant group called AIME (Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience), they are a dynamic educational program that is proven to support Indigenous students through high school and into university, employment or further education at the same rate as all Australian students.
They help give Indigenous students the skills, opportunities, belief and confidence to grow and succeed.
I didn’t hesitate with my answer, I said YES straightaway, as I’ve seen firsthand the love and compassion she has put into this program and I’m so proud to be a part of it.
But to be honest, I didn’t know a lot about it, as I’m sure some of you don’t.
So I’ll fill you in a little.
Their aim and goals is for all Indigenous students involved in the Program to increase Year 9 to 12 progression rates and increase university admission rates and they are doing this all around the country, including here in Perth.
Around 6 months ago, I met one of their students, Oliviana, and she is an absolute gem. I hung out with her whilst we got our pictures taken and she really inspired me.
Oliviana is a Noongar girl, who was born in Darwin and now lives in Northam.
She explained to me that being Aboriginal meant nothing to her because that was who she is, “It is me, it’s a part of who I am and I’m proud of that.”
She has always embraced who she is, “Growing up, I used to do the Noongar welcome all the time and my Nan used to give me language books. I still do dot painting all the time too. I’m really proud of who I am.”
She said to me that no one should feel ashamed to be Aboriginal, “You can’t change who you are and you are Aboriginal, so you should embrace it and be proud. Do not be ashamed of the bad statistics that show Aboriginal people doing bad stuff that put us down – but just step up and be a good role model for others. That is the first step for our culture to be better and to be proud and not do wrong. “
Oliviana, like many other teens have jumped on board with AIME because it is a fun way to learn about really important subjects.
I asked her what advice she would give to other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids, that maybe struggling in school and what a pearl of wisdom she is.
Her response, “Always follow your dreams, no dream is too big to accomplish or too hard. You just have to be committed to work for it. And never doubt yourself because if you doubt yourself then you can’t go anywhere if you can’t believe in yourself. You have to say I can do this and you will eventually get there.”
That’s just a little glimpse into AIME, if you want to know more about their programs or support them, you can! This Friday night they are holding their inaugural WA fundraising event -KiNDLiNG at John Curtin Performing Arts Centre.
The evening aims to spark your imagination & share Indigenous culture by hosting comedy, drama, music, dance and story-telling. They have some brilliant support and names in the lineup such as Beni Bjah, Famous Sharron, Ingrid Cumming all performing and raising funds to reach 10 000 Indigenous high-school kids by 2018.
Tickets are just $30 and can be purchased at aimementoring.com/kindling-wa or check out our Facebook page ‘AIME presents: KiNDLiNG -WA!! Food and drinks will be available for purchase on the evening and there are prizes to be won.
Get pumped and get involved!
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