Year 12 IMPACT students celebrated their graduation from the three year Indigenous leadership program at Parliament House in Darwin last month. In attendance were special guests Chief Minister Giles NT, who presented students with their certificates, Darwin Lord Mayor, Katrina Fong Lim, Susan Bowden DECS Deputy CE and Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor Steve Larkin, CDU as well as program partners and students and their families.
“expand their ideas of what is possible”
Each Year 12 student gave a heartfelt and moving speech about their experience of the IMPACT program: how IMPACT supported them, not only to complete Year 12 but also to expand their ideas of what is possible, broaden their networks and provide them with opportunities to travel interstate and meet with inspiring leaders and professionals from a range of fields.
Students described how they felt strongly connected to each other as part of the IMPACT program and were like a family going through the program together. Some of the highlights for Year 12 students over the three years were the Step Up camp, the initial residential camp where students forged strong bonds with each other, the interstate Worlds of Work week they completed in Year 10, the challenges of the Larapinta trail in 2013 and the Garma festival this year in August where students volunteered as leaders at the Youth Forum.
Michelle, states that “Before IMPACT I didn’t know what I was going to do with myself. It’s changed my views and perspectives on life. I’m able to find connections and approach people for answers; it’s given me a greater respect for my identity and culture”. Cheyenne, one of the graduating students said that it had been a tough year, and towards the end she didn’t think she was going to make it, but the support from IMPACT gave her the motivation to push herself to complete her final assignments and she is now proud to say that she has completed Year 12.
Danika states that “At the start I was really unsure and questioning myself all the time and really stressed out about school. Probably through IMPACT, getting all these exposures, and different experiences that’s helped out a lot now I think about it. I can’t picture myself without the IMPACT program we’re all so close and we’ve done so much together. I can’t specify one experience as everything has been helpful and kind of brought myself together”.
“relentlessly optimistic about young people”
IMPACT is the only out-of-school Indigenous leadership and development program that engages with students for a sustained three-year period and has a focus on social action, leadership and academic achievement. The IMPACT program begins in Year 10 and supports students to complete Year 12 and embark on their transition into work, study or volunteering. Students are engaged from across the Northern Territory to take part in the program, which has been created and founded by the Foundation for Young Australians, an organisation dedicated to helping young people, remaining “relentlessly optimistic about young people” and dedicated to helping change the world, one young Australian at a time.
IMPACT builds a community of excellence that encourages young Indigenous students to succeed at school and serve as positive role models in their community. The initiative supports and inspires young Indigenous students to realise their potential and become leaders who can drive the change they want to see in the world.
Graduates have a range of plans for the coming year with several planning to undertake further study at university or begin apprenticeships and others planning to begin full time work.
Congratulations to all of the graduates!
Find out more about the Foundation for Young Australians here.