A parent’s perspective

This extract is from the parent of a student participating in Aurora’s Aspiration Initiative. It gives unique insight into the true value of this incredible program and the impact it is having on students, family and community.

‘I wish to introduce myself; I am a single mum raising three teenage girls, two who have the disability of being severely/profoundly deaf.

Our family heritage is that of being recognised members of the Bardi tribe from the Broome/Derby region of Western Australia. At the age of 47, I have had my fair share of being a statistic in many forms….taken from my family at the age of 3, made a ward of the state for 15 yrs with no contact with my aboriginal family, being a target of abuse on all levels, being told to lie about my heritage as it was deemed to be something o be ashamed about…to mention but a few. But happily, unlike the majority of those from my generation, I have used all these hurdles to mark my place as a strong and productive member of our community. I have always lead by example and as such, expect my girls to do the same.

As part of my education that was backed by the ABSTUDY system, I was able to do well and obtain my leaving and go on to further education, including only last year becoming certified within training and assessing and now looking at a double diploma in education. So what does this self-praising mean to you?

My youngest daughter was given a chance in a lifetime to become part of the Aurora Aspiration Initiative. She started her education at the tender age of 2 yrs being a member of a deaf group to encourage speech and the use of hearing aids, rather than adding any further hurdles if I were to encourage sign language only. The fact that she was deaf and recognised as being of Aboriginal decent, were walls we all knew she would have to tackle daily, but being through the mill myself, I was more than determined to give my girls every chance on offer to become more than even they could imagine.

Due to bullying at a well-known private catholic college, I moved my daughter to a state school close to our new home. When the opportunity came to put her name forward for the Aspiration Initiative we jumped at the chance but were skeptical at what this Aboriginal only mentor based scheme would amount to. We were all blown away by not only the support for my daughter due to her hearing loss, but for the inclusion within the large group of kids from across the state. She has not only flourished over the last two years due to this program, but has learnt skills and awareness of our culture that I was not able to provide for her.  All the lessons she learns, she forwards to any and all who wish to listen to her. Not only has her school marks improved by leaps and bounds, but her shyness and vulnerability has almost disappeared. Every school holidays she looks forward to spending anything up to a week with her new extended family, her desire to learn more about topics that even adults shy away from endears her to all adults she interacts with. The mentor system that is in place for these kids’ shows by example that aggression and substance abuse is not the answer when things go wrong, but to communicate with your peers or those who you view as extended family will always be the way to go.

Our kids need this system to become the next generation of mentors for their peers. They are the ones who will be stepping up to the line as far as education and work excellence goes, and will be recognised as examples to look up to for all the right reasons not because they have “scammed” or “fought” their way into the media.’

To find out more about the Aspiration Initiative please go to http://theaspirationinitiative.com.au/