MAYLANDS Nyoongar Wellbeing and Sport programs manager Mark Griffin says he hopes to deliver the success stories of Nyoongar people at his first appearance at the Indigenous Business, Enterprise and Corporations Conference (IBECC).
Mr Griffin (37) has worked in the Nyoongar community for 17 years.
He is among more than 100 speakers at the UWA event and said his presentation would be based on Nyoongar Wellbeing and Sport school-based Youth Achievers Club program.
“We utilise our staff who are inspirational Aboriginal role models, we use traditional indigenous games and sports and we also do leadership and personal development activities,” he said.
“Some outcomes are education specific such as improving attendance, engagement and academic perfor- mance and others are around health and well-being, cultural pride, physical health and fitness and emotional relation is a big one.”
Mr Griffin said the program was launched in July and ran in six schools including West Beechboro and Ashfield primary schools.
“We work really hard in our jobs and we are seeing the young people in our program develop physically, mentally, emotionally and they are going to be the leaders tomorrow,” he said.
“We have kids in our program who before we started, were in the principal’s office every other day – they were struggling to socialise.
“As an Aboriginal, I have felt a bit of a positive change in the community around Aboriginal issues recently.”
He said suspension figures had dropped, attendance had increased to more than 90 per cent and parent engagement had improved in some of the schools.
“We have also seen parents and families engage more at schools, so parents who would usually not come to school for the student-teacher nights, all of the sudden feel it’s culturally a safe place for them because we have invited them to some of our programs,” he said.
He said IBECC was an opportunity for organisations and businesses to discuss Aboriginal issues.
“I’d love for all the organisations and businesses to continue on this journey, we are making progress and this is the way forward,” he said.
Other speakers included Nyoongar entrepreneur Gordon Cole of Perth and Reconciliation WA co-chair Alan Carter of Crawley.