We all know that education and positive support is an integral part of any young person’s development. It can help shape who you are later on in life and put you on track to becoming a meaningful participant in society.
My recent guest on Full Production is Henry Papertalk. Henry is the operations officer at the Clontarf Foundation in Kalgoorlie and has been part of this amazing organisation since 2011.
Clontarf is a foundation that aims to further educate young-school age aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boys. Their goal is to set them on the right path to improving their life skills, self-confidence, sense of achievement and career prospects.
Here are a few key points from our recent chat:
The Importance of Role Models
One of the main subjects that we come back to multiple times throughout our conversation is role models and of course, football. Having a role model to look up to can have a huge impact on a kids’ self-esteem and academic performance, and this is something Henry has seen first-hand. Clontarf has multiple activities that encourage confidence and discipline, but football plays a huge part in their development scheme.
With that in mind, Clontarf organises regular visits from ex-AFL players to come and talk to some of the boys, “It’s one of the biggest motivators that we have for our boys in the academy. They idolise and look up to those guys,” says Henry. “They see that, ‘they’ve done that so I can do this, they’ve finished school so I can do this.’ ”
We Can All Do More As A Community
The proverb “It takes a village to raise a child,” is fairly apt for this point, as multiple local organisations have become involved with the Clontarf scheme in order to help develop their students. On the list of activities that Clontarf offers its students is days out among the local community. Henry sees a huge benefit to taking planned trips to places like the local fire or police station, “The more we get them comfortable and relating to the wider community here in Kalgoorlie, the better it’s going to be for them when they leave school.”
Something that Henry and I spoke about, both before and during our recorded conversation is what we can collectively do as a society to help our fellow indigenous youth. Clontarf primarily relies on the advocacy from their partners, whether it’s through donations or the aboriginal community as a whole. But is this enough?
Although there are huge successes to the program, both Henry and I feel that there is more to be done, and we should be having tough conversations about instigating change. Within Australia, we need to be able to create environments where we can effectively communicate as a society about aboriginal issues from all levels, top down. “We need to do more,” states Henry. “If everyone just did a little bit more than they’re doing now, it would go a long way.”
You can hear my entire conversation with Henry Papertalk here.