Kwinana’s Aboriginal youth organisation Halo, to continue regardless of resignation of founder

Lee-Anne Smith and Halo students Lewis Abdullah and Fabian Keighran. Picture: Martin Kennealey www.communitypix.com.au d375978
Lee-Anne Smith and Halo students Lewis Abdullah and Fabian Keighran. Picture: Martin Kennealey www.communitypix.com.au d375978

HALO board member Harry Kleyn says he is confident the group will continue to help young Aboriginal people, even after founder Lee-Anne Smith stepped down from her role as chief executive.

The organisation’s base in Kwinana has remained closed since October 21 while an accountant runs the rule over Halo’s finances.

Ms Smith, who sold her family home in 2005 to get Halo up and running, said she signalled her intention to step down before taking time off mid-year.

The Cockburn councillor wanted to sign off with Halo in December, but said she didn’t return from holiday after being offered a stripped back position.

Chatting to the Gazette last week, Ms Smith said she was ready to leave the role 12 months earlier, but was spurred on by ‘the guilt of leaving’ and her commitment to the kids.

‘It’s that hope that the next big grant or tender is around the corner so you hang in there,’ she said.

‘I became very consumed. I don’t do things half-heartedly.’

Mr Kleyn admitted the departure had caught them off guard and had left the board in a ‘bit of a difficult situation’.

Despite that, he said she should be praised for her many years of hard work.

‘She’s been very committed and done some magical things,’ he said.

He said the board was confident Halo would continue, but would know more after a meeting later this week.

‘There’s a strong drive by the board and the community to continue this program,’ he said.

Ms Smith said she was now considering a number of career options.