A delegation of Year 12 students from the Dubbo College Senior Girls Academy program attended Australia's biggest leadership summit for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls in Sydney this week.
The summit was called 'Be the Change' and includes an Indigenous Careers Expo which brings together Australia's top employers and tertiary education providers to promote a diverse range of career, employment and study pathways to Indigenous students over three days.
Girls Academy is Australia's leading in-school mentoring program for Indigenous girls, working in conjunction with The Law Society Of New South Wales to run the summit during NAIDOC Week.
Girls Academy aims to support high school girls to engage in education and pursue their goals through mentoring sport, and, cultural and empowerment programs. The Dubbo Girls Academy Program sponsored students to attend the workshop, providing them with the opportunities to form deeper friendships, and to network.
Girls Academy was founded by Olympian and NBL basketball champion Ricky Grace AM and aims to close the gap in education, employment and health.
"These young people are the community leaders of the future and will be the inspiration for the next generation," Mr Grace said.
"Our program is community-led, and more than 70 per cent of our staff are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women."
Dubbo College's Shamika Lamb was one of the students in attendance of the summit, and according to her the Girls Academy Program is a place where she and other young Aboriginal girls can feel comfortable, and have someone else to talk to other than their parents.
Girls Academy is a place I can go to feel comfortable and be myself.Dubbo College's Shamika Lamb
"Girls Academy is a place I can go to feel comfortable and be myself," Shamika said.
"In the future, I would like to finish school then go to university and graduate. My dream job would be to be a lawyer."
"Girls Academy is centred around increasing Indigenous school attendance; advancing academic and personal achievement; improving year 12 graduation rates; and facilitating planning for study, training and careers after high school," Mr Grace said.