“To me it was important that we were giving the kids an education,” said Shelley.
“Education is everything. If you’re educated you can achieve just about anything, as long as you have the determination to get where you want to go.”
Shelley and Don are also particularly passionate about breaking the barriers to education faced by Indigenous students. Studies show that only 65 percent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people complete Year 12 or its equivalent, compared with 89 percent of non-Indigenous young people.1
So they made a generous donation to establish our Girls at the Centre program in Victoria. Through the program, teenage girls have access to positive educational experiences and role models. This helps them build constructive relationships with each other, their schools, families and community members.
“Indigenous students need to know that it's okay to stand up and get an education. This takes ongoing conversations,” said Shelley.
According to school staff, Girls at the Centre is having a powerful impact. The students taking part demonstrate improved school attendance, greater engagement in learning and better attitudes.1 Closing the Gap Report 2019.