Rewarding time for mentors
ELEVEN men and women received certificates yesterday at Goonellabah for mentoring a diverse range of groups.
They were the first regional graduates in the certificate IV course, which was run by Tribal Warrior and Bridgeway Barnes, an organisation specialising in indigenous employment.
Among the graduates was Shirley Walker, of Casino, who said the six-week course had been most useful in showing her how to ‘get back to basics’ – using simple words, making eye contact, and no judgments’.
Ms Walker works at Rekindling the Spirit, a community group run by Aboriginal people in Lismore, and is looking forward to applying her new skills.
Mavis Robinson is another graduate, and volunteers at Casino West Public School, working with the kids in the classroom. She particularly likes working with the kindies, as she believes the earlier that children can be mentored the better.
The graduation ceremony at the Goonellabah Workers Sports Club yesterday was addressed by rugby league legend Arthur Beetson.
He concluded by referring to the success his children had achieved in the workplace.
“We are, given the opportunities, as smart as anyone else,” Mr Beetson said.
Referring to seeing Aborigines flying back and forth from the Outback, he said: “It’s great to see our mob going to work in the mines.”
Shane Phillips, the chief executive officer of Tribal Warrior, said his organisation boiled down to ‘a bunch of black fellas with a great belief in our own people’.
“Let’s bust the myth that we can’t work,” he said.
Mr Phillips is based in Redfern, where other groups of mentors have been trained.
There had been ‘great results’ from the mentoring in Redfern, said Ian Bridger, a co-director with Bridgeway Barnes.
The gathering yesterday was partly to see how the program could roll out in the Northern Rivers, Mr Bridger said.
“Lismore is part of a larger program. There will be further courses here, as well as in Tweed, Dubbo and Wellington,” he said.