Shooting Stars is an education program for Aboriginal girls and women located in remote and regional towns. Based in host schools, Shooting Stars combines advocacy and support, engagement activities, rewards, and health and wellbeing sessions to strengthen participants’ confidence, cultural identity, and positive attitudes. Our mission is to empower Aboriginal girls and women to make informed choices about their education and employment journey, helping them strive for the stars.
Shooting Stars works collaboratively with the local community, schools and service providers to affect genuine change in the lives of more than 700 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. Importantly, the program produces results. More than 25% of participants improve attendance term on term, while 50% of participants maintain an average attendance rate of 80% or above.
Furthermore, Shooting Stars is a key driver in creating equality for female leaders and generational change, with 85% of its staff and 66% of its Board identifying as Aboriginal. Our Program Coordinators are inspiring, women who are responsible for the day-to-day management and implementation of the program, and our outcomes are measured and reported using an Indigenous evaluation protocols.
The things we want to achieve:
- Grow positive attitudes and values: Students grow positive attitudes towards their education, health and wellbeing, and future while demonstrating the Shooting Stars values: Pride, Respect, Success
- Empower Indigenous women: Students feel empowered to make positive and informed decisions
- Strengthen Cultural Identity: Students feel strong and proud to be Aboriginal women
- Improve School Attendance: Students improve their school attendance
The things we do:
- Collaboration & Community Engagement: We engage and empower our communities through collaboration. Collaboration is at the heart of everything we do
- Health & Wellbeing Sessions: Students join in health and well-being lessons during the week
- Rewards: Students are rewarded for their positive choices and behaviour
- Advocacy and Support for Participants: Staff are based on the school site to support with issues that may arise during the School day
- Engagement Activities: Students are engaged with different sports, arts, and fun games at school and outside of school
YARNING WITH THE STARS PROJECT
Shooting Stars facilitates yarning circles with participants, localised steering committees, and broader community in order to:
- Provide feedback to the people that fund us so that we can get more funding to keep the program running and make the program better
- Gather feedback from participants and local communities about the program so that we can make it better and ensure that it is site specific
- Publish the results of the study so that other organisations can use our methods and to build the prestige of the Shooting Stars program
The study is part of the Shooting Stars program and carried out by Shooting Stars staff as part of the funding requirements of National Indigenous Australians Agency. We are also funded for the Yarning Circle project by Lotterywest. Participation in the Yarning with the Stars project means that your daughter will be part of a yarning circle. The yarning circle will be audiotaped (sound only, no video).
YARNING WITH THE STARS OUTCOMES
During Yarning Circles your daughter can have her say about the program and give us feedback. We will also ask her questions that help us to gauge her attitude towards school, education, her health and wellbeing, her identity, and her future. We analyse the results of the yarn and write a summary report, which then goes to the local steering committee. For example in 2017, the girls asked for (amongst many things) a chocolate fountain, a trip to Hawaii, and to play netball against St Mary’s. Of those particular options, Shooting Stars decided to play netball against St Mary’s.
SEVEN SISTERS PROGRAM
Through yarning with participants from 2016-2018 some common barriers to school attendance emerged. From this, the Seven Sisters program was developed. The program is aimed at developing mental health coping strategies within an Aboriginal health framework. The program also combines netball skills as an engagement vehicle and connection with body and fitness.
The program runs for 10 weeks, finishing with a community netball match event. This event is a round robin netball match and is open to families and wider community to come together and show support for the girls. We welcome families to volunteer during this event, if you are interested in helping please let the program coordinators know.
Currently, in 2021 all sites will begin the program with years 5 & 6 students. A high school program will begin in 2022.