As the 2022 year draws to a close, I would like to reflect on the amazing year we have had supporting our 416 young people at our 23 partner schools!
During the year the team at MADALAH carried out 245 school visits, and our mentors conducted 92 mentoring sessions, carried out multiple social and emotional wellbeing reviews, monitored and supported students at educational risk, created individual leadership plans for all students and focused on career pathway plans with our seniors! Our students’ positive interactions and yarns have been some of the many highlights for our MADALAH sessions.
For students at each of our partner schools we conducted Orientation events, Education & Wellbeing Days, attended their NAIDOC celebrations, hosted our biggest Youth Leadership Summit and held our very first MADALAH Student Showcase! We also held Tertiary Networking Events & supported them with their social and emotional wellbeing. My personal highlight has to be hosting our biggest Graduation Dinner, in partnership with Future Footprints, where we celebrated 84 Year 12 Graduates and 17 Tertiary Graduates; we are making a difference in the lives of our young people, their families and their communities.
We travelled to the Pilbara, Mid West, South West and throughout the Goldfields, ensuring regional families are informed about the opportunity to gain access to a private education not always available in their home town. We received 205 secondary applications for 2023, of which we managed to award 105 scholarships.
In line with Closing the Gap we successfully partnered with Fortescue Metals Group, Gold Road Resources, Kariyarra Aboriginal Corporation, Northern Star Resources, South32 and the Roy Hill Community Foundation! This meant we were able to support an additional 50 scholars who would have otherwise been turned away and eleven more to total 61 in 2023! I am very proud that these organisations chose MADALAH and we are very grateful for the opportunity to facilitate these scholarships on their behalf.
A focus this year for me was to ensure our newly expanded team had the opportunity for professional development to support us all in ensuring the support we provide to our young people is culturally appropriate, safe and supportive of their wellbeing. As a team we completed Aboriginal Mental Health First Aid Training, Code of Conduct & Disclosure Training, Sexual Health Training, Bronze Medallion and Case Note Writing and Salesforce Training. We attended the WA Mental Health Conference and attended both the Indigenous Emerging Business Forums held in Perth and in the Pilbara. We also attended the Indigenous Education & Boarding Australia – National Symposium which was invaluable. We spent three days connecting with experienced educators and boarding professionals from sectors such as boarding providers, scholarship providers, representatives from ABSTUDY, school staff, transition services and research experts in Indigenous education from throughout Australia. It was inspiring to hear what works and to share what we do at MADALAH. We also sat on a panel to take part in discussions about scholarships and student retention. A highlight at the end of the year was taking our newly appointed Head Girl and Head Boy on a visit to Canberra where we attended Parliament House, met with the National Indigenous Australians Agency and toured the Australian National University whilst connecting with one of our Tertiary scholars there.
In addition to educating ourselves, our Indigenous Student & Families Support Team collaborated to create a MADALAH Cultural Education Training program. The purpose of the program is to educate school staff and to help guide and support them on how best to engage with Indigenous students from throughout WA whilst they are navigating the western school system. We have facilitated this program at a handful of our partner schools and look forward to rolling this out further in 2023.
I would like to personally thank all of our students, their families, our partner schools and communities who have played a key role in working together to support our 416 young people to achieve their educational outcomes this year.
I would also like to thank the National Indigenous Australians Agency and all of our corporate partners for the financial support, and also the positive relationships we have and the additional support and benefit this brings to our young people.
Last but by no means least I would like to thank the MADALAH Board for their continued investment of time, support and dedication and to my amazing team, thank you for your hard work, support and relentless passion in supporting our young people in 2022.
2023 promises to be a huge year for MADALAH and will see us supporting 461 young people; our largest cohort yet!
Laura Taylor – CEO, MADALAH Limited