An academy aimed at encouraging the next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders to “dream big” was launched in Melbourne this morning, with Racing Victoria (RV) one of the partner organisations supporting the project.
So-called because in Wurundjeri language it means “big dreams”, the Baldau Yiooghen Youth Leadership Academy brings together several community, cultural and sporting groups to support young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as they strive towards their educational, employment and leadership goals.
The program links young people with community elders, and offers industry and cultural experiences via partner organisations including RV, Tennis Australia, Opera Australia, Australian National Academy of Music, Essendon FC, Melbourne Victory FC and Federation University.
The academy is facilitated by Anglicare Victoria and The Long Walk, the charity inspired by Essendon legend Michael Long’s walk to Canberra to get the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people back on the national agenda.
“Baldau Yiooghen is all about promoting opportunities for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to help them achieve their full potential,” said Anglicare Victoria Community Development Manager, David Law.
“Following the program, the young people return to their local communities and those over the age of 15 form a youth advisory committee to advise the board at their local Aboriginal Co-operative, as well as undergoing paid work experience with one of the academy partners.”
Three years ago, RV launched the Darby McCarthy Indigenous Scholarship to provide indigenous youths in Victoria with greater opportunities to forge a career in the racing industry, and its support of the Youth Leadership Academy has now strengthened RV’s relationship with Victoria’s indigenous community, according to Greg Carpenter, Executive General Manager – Racing and Participant Wellbeing.
“As part of our inclusive policy Racing Victoria is committed to providing ‘Racing For All’, and so we are delighted to support the Baldau Yiooghen Youth Leadership Academy,” he said.
“Together with our fellow partners, we are aiming to make some ‘big dreams’ come true through the academy.”
Leanne Brooke, General Manager of The Long Walk, also praised the work of the academy.
“Baldau Yiooghen is a wonderful example of a range of organisations working collaboratively to develop future leaders and provide opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island young people,” she said.
“The Long Walk is all about promoting, celebrating, empowering and developing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We are proud to partner with Anglicare and all the other partner organisations, who are committed to achieving the same outcome – producing resilient, proud and strong indigenous youths.”