Mentors inspire young Indigenous students
THE next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders will gain a rare insight into tertiary education when University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Ipswich hosts the inaugural Ipswich Education, Youth and Sport Program (IEYSP).
More than 100 Indigenous young people aged 10-17 will take part in the program, which aims to maximise the engagement of young Indigenous students in education, culture, health and sporting activities within a university environment.
Kambu Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation for Health have co-ordinated the program in partnership with USQ, PCYC Ipswich, Institute for Urban Indigenous Health and Queensland Government agencies.
USQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas said the week-long program, starting June 29, would help break down some of the barriers about university life.
"This initiative provides a great opportunity for participants to consider tertiary studies as an option after high school," Professor Thomas said.
Kambu CEO Stella Taylor-Johnson said the program would include sporting and educational activities for primary and secondary students, supported by role models and volunteers.
"This is an exciting event as the emphasis is around education and getting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students familiar with higher education and the opportunities available at a local level," she said.
"It's also about giving them good physical activity and a huge health emphasis so they can see what is happening at university around health care.
"The other important thing is they will meet our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ambassadors who represent the university and will share their stories with the children."
USQ Student Ambassador Mel AhSam is one of the mentors involved in the program. Now in her final year studying early childhood education, Ms AhSam said she was looking forward to encouraging the young minds to follow their dreams.
"It's a big responsibility but I'm excited to have the chance to guide the children in the right direction by telling them 'if I can do it, then you can do it too'," she said.