What started as a program to address poor school attendance has seen a group of Derby teenagers gain self confidence and feeling happier and healthier.
Red Cross partnered with the high school and local agencies such as police, Aboriginal Health Clinic and employment agency to deliver Deadly Munga's (young women) supporting Aboriginal teens in the regional Kimberley town in Western Australia.
Red Cross PHaMS Officer, Christine Boddington coordinated the 10 week program for students, aged 13 to 18.
"We wanted to help these teenagers break the cycle of dropping out of school, getting a boyfriend and getting pregnant and to also provide education and awareness on the harmful effects of alcohol and drugs.
"The program identified contributing factors behind their poor school attendance, like drug and alcohol use, social isolation and low self esteem. So we provided a range of sessions to address these issues," Christine said.
"Like our save-a-mate alcohol and other drugs program, suicide prevention, helping the girls complete their resumes, cooking lessons and even a trip to Broome for a day of pampering.
Christine says the success of the program was the students setting their own goals and tangible rewards and the holistic approach, with several agencies coming together to support the young women.
"As the weeks progressed the girls opened up and gained a lot from sharing and hearing each others stories."
"They realised they all had similar backgrounds and could see the importance and benefit of mentoring and supporting each other," Christine said.
The result was not only improved school attendance, but greater confidence, new skills and information which they shared with their families and a greater understanding of the impact of drug and alcohol use on themselves and community.
The teenagers are planning to hold a fashion parade wearing clothing from Red Cross shop in Broome to thank our team for their support.