This is amazing Grace

Aboriginal teenager Grace Holmes. Picture: Matt Jelonek        www.communitypix.com.au   d441467
Aboriginal teenager Grace Holmes. Picture: Matt Jelonek        www.communitypix.com.au d441467

The 12-year-old student from Midland is one of 12 young people featured in This Is Me � a State Government initiative.

More than 1270 Aboriginal children and youths were consulted about what was important to them and their hopes for the future.

Grace focused on the positive influences in her life, her love of netball, learning Aboriginal songs with her mother Michelle and doing cool dance moves.

�Dancing is great,� Grace said.

�It lets you see other people�s points of view and teaches us about how when you work together you can create something amazing.

�It�s good to inspire other people.�

Her mum said the hip-hop program run by Fleur Hockey and Midland PCYC was a big influence on Grace and her brothers Dylan (11) and Shane (9), who attend Midvale Primary School.

�Learning dance brings them out of their shell; they have to learn how to express themselves and voice their opinions. They�re becoming good communicators; I�m proud of the kids,� Michelle said.

Grace, who attends Governor Stirling High School, also wrote about the importance of indigenous people coming together to support reconciliation.

WA Commissioner for Children and Young People Jenni Perkins said during the consultation, many children said having peer role models and people they could look up to was important to them.

�While there are many different people in the community who children and young people can look up to, often it�s WA young people themselves who are the most inspiring and relevant role models,� Ms Perkins said.

She said Grace was an example of a young person committed to working hard, contributing positively to the community and creating a positive future.

�There are many more Aboriginal young people out there who are similarly committed to their families and communities, and this came through in the consultation,� Ms Perkins said.

�I�m encouraged by the sense of hope and bold visions for the future that many Aboriginal children and young people expressed.

�Grace should feel very proud and the local community should be proud of her and the other children and young people who are similarly working hard to be good citizens, students and family members.�

This Is Me will be tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children�s Day.

It is one of three new publications presenting the views of WA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people to improve policy and service delivery.