The video project planted a seed.
From budding musicians to film producers, editors and actors, the stories captured gave the community insight into how the young people were feeling.
Videos like ‘No More Violence’ and ‘Boys Gotta Stop’ (above) spoke to adults and peers to stop fighting, drinking and taking drugs. Others like the ’Marrin Gamu Song’ by Woorabinda State School, celebrated culture and language.
Jobe Adams was a shy 14-year-old who wanted to change negative perceptions about his community. He directed and edited ‘Yolanda’, about his little cousin and her love of her family and Woorabinda, and ‘Buloo’, about a young Indigenous boy who wants to be like his grandfather when he gets older.
Now, the very confident 18-year-old is in front of the camera, studying acting in Sydney.
With support and self-belief, Woorie kids developed a youth leadership group and are running annual youth festivals.
“We have eight-year-olds doing the sound engineering!” a beaming Stephen says. “It showcases the talent, resilience and strength of Woorabinda young people, to challenge themselves and grow.”
Listening, learning, sharing
Stephen grew up in the suburbs of Sydney and had very little knowledge about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. He had never heard of Woorabinda, and never worked in an Aboriginal community.
How Stephen ended up in Woorie, well, “some of the Elders have told me it’s just some things are meant to be.
“Since I’ve been in Woorabinda I’ve learnt everything that I never thought I needed to know, all the lessons that I never knew there were to learn.
“Having spent time in Woorabinda and being adopted into a family here. That’s given me a deeper understanding of issues. I will never feel the impact of intergenerational trauma and I acknowledge there’s things that I will never understand fully in the cultural connections.
“But, I am able to share my understandings with people I went to school with in Sydney, my family, people I studied with and help them gain more perspective about Indigenous people,” Stephen says.
Sam says from the moment he arrived, there was just something special about Stephen.
“You don’t normally see someone who just fits.
“One of the best things that you could do as a non-Indigenous person coming into communities is to absorb. Let the community get to know you. Don’t do too much of the talking, but just a lot of the listening.
“Stephen did a lot of that. That's where he learnt the true essence of what it is living in community with the locals,” Sam says.