Staff and community members are shocked after the Girls Academy charity, founded by former Wildcats player Ricky Grace, missed federal funding for its flagship school mentoring program for indigenous girls.
Instead, the federal government has supported new providers in order to provide an allegedly expanded service.
While the news was received with dismay by some, other Indigenous leaders say the government’s decision to stop Mr Charity’s charity, Role Models and Leaders Australia Ltd. Funding (RMLA), one opportunity is to « rethink » the way education and support services are being delivered to indigenous girls.
The Girls Academy was founded in 2004 by Mr. Grace through RMLA as an in-school support and mentoring program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls, with a focus on increasing school attendance and graduation rates.
It runs in 46 schools in Western Australia, New South Wales, Queensland, and the Northern Territory and had approximately 2,800 students this year.
On 22. On December 23rd, Girls Academy employees received a letter stating that the RMLA had failed to secure a federal government grant and raised concerns about the future of the program and employee job security.
According to its website, the Girls Academy employs 150 people nationwide, 70 percent of whom are local.
Several staff and community members took to Facebook to share their shock, including Narelle Henry, general manager of Girls Academy WA, who wrote that she was « devastated », « disaffected » and « disaffected » five days after the news « stunned ».
« These are just a few of the roller coasters of emotions I’ve experienced this week and just a few of the words the Girls Academy staff use to describe how they are currently feeling, » Ms. Henry wrote on Facebook.
« Despite our leaders’ efforts to find a way to reassure our teams and students about their future, our frontline workers must address the problems and concerns of anxious parents, students, and community members. «
Others have praised the work of the Girls Academy, including Lisa Rennie, who reached out to Facebook to show her support for the program.
« My girl lives off the Girls Academy – not just my girl, but all the young girls in town make a living from it, » she wrote.
Former Girls Academy students Christal Quartermaine and Kristel Cooke previously told ABC that the program reversed their school experiences and helped them create a better future for themselves.
Ms. Quartermaine, who struggled with a family tragedy during her school days, said she would not have thought she would have made it without the support of her school and especially the girls’ academy.
A Girls Academy newsletter from Mr Grace last year found that 93. 2% of the 12th grade girls. Class of the Girls Academy in 2018 have either the 12. Completed grade or found employment prior to high school graduation. That result increased from 84% in 2017 to 78%. 9% in 2016.
A spokesman for the Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt, said the federal government will continue to fund the Girls Academy’s services, but they will be expanded and operated by a variety of providers.
The spokesperson said the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) notified RMLA in July that their contract would be extended until the end of 2020 and that the NIAA would conduct a grant process to select providers to provide Girls Academy services January 2021.
« That process has now occurred and providers have been selected to continue and expand the Girls Academy’s services, » said the spokesman.
The spokesman said the government would increase spending on Girls Academy programs over the next three years by funding an additional « 2,700 places across Australia ». .
« NIAA is working closely with outbound and inbound providers to ensure a smooth transition of services, including ensuring that existing employees are offered employment opportunities with incoming Girls Academy providers, » said the spokesman.
In 2019, Grace, a former captain of the Perth Wildcats, was named a member of the Order of Australia to provide significant service to the state’s indigenous community through the academy.
A month later, the national regulator – the Australian Commission on Charities and Nonprofits (ACNC) – began investigating RMLA after receiving « concerns » about aspects of the organization’s management. However, the investigation was closed later in the year as the RMLA took significant steps to strengthen its governance.
Gidja woman and State Labor Party member for Kimberley Josie Farrer said the shock news about the Girls Academy created an opportunity to reconsider the provision of education and support services to indigenous girls.
« I think parts of it are good, but parts of it have failed, » Ms. Farrer said. « Why do we have young school leavers who are just leaving school because this girl is expecting a baby, where is the support for this young girl? »
Ms. Farrer said a lack of consultation with people living in remote communities has resulted in some girls missing out on services offered in city schools.
« This is where we’ve really failed as a society because we don’t get the views of all these young women, » she said.
« The Girls Academy could offer a lot more if it had some input from its own young people. «
Ms. Farrer said that in her eight years in the state assembly, she had found it difficult to advocate education in remote areas.
« Most MPs live in the city so they don’t have a full understanding of the remote areas and the way services are provided, » she said.
« My dream was to see a huge college in Kimberley . . . and we could use people who have worked in those areas, ex-teachers, ex-police, ex-whatever, and use the knowledge they have built up over the years. «
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Ricky Grace, Funding, Ken Wyatt, School
World News – AU – ‘Devastated, stunned’: The “Charity Behind the Girls Academy” program for indigenous students loses funding
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– Ricky Grace Charity Loses Federal Funding For Girls Academy As Government Supports New Providers
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