Second Anniversary – #WATWB March 2019 – Ricky Grace’s Girls Academy helps Indigenous girls become tomorrow’s leaders

Welcome to our Second Anniversary Post!  For the inaugural post we looked at a novel way of living with Usher Syndrome in Sunsets for Kate.

March 2018 brought the story of Kevin Hines, his remarkable survival, and other supports to help people cope in life.

This time we focus on giving Indigenous girls a better today and tomorrow.

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PHOTO: Christal Quartermaine fell pregnant with her son “Junior” when she was in Year 11. (ABC News: Briana Shepherd)

 

 

Our co-hosts for this month are

Sylvia McGrath,
Damyanti Biswas,
Shilpa Garg,
Dan Antion,
and Belinda Witzenhausen

Please check out their posts and others tagged with #WATWB.

Back to our story as reported by Briana Shepherd from ABC News, Australia.

Christal Quartermaine was 15 years old when her 13-year-old sister took her own life, just four days before her birthday.

“You don’t ever get over losing someone in that sense,” Ms Quartermaine said.

As the oldest of five girls, now four, Ms Quartermaine had little time to deal with her grief.

“I did have to step up,” she said.

“My mum was finding it hard losing a child and I was finding it hard at losing a sister, but there were still three other siblings that I had to worry about.”

Ms Quartermaine worked during the school holidays at a bank to help support her family.

Little more than a year later she fell pregnant while in Year 11 at school.

“The hardest part was still dealing with losing my sister and then, you know, you’re going to have a kid,” she said.

As a student at Clontarf Aboriginal College, a Catholic school in Waterford in Perth’s south, Ms Quartermaine thought her academic life was over.

But the college, along with her mother, were insistent she finish school.

But they more or less said ‘why do all these years and then not graduate’, you know, not get anything out of it?”

Ms Quartermaine said had it not been for the support of her school and in particular the Girls Academy — a not-for-profit charitable organisation that places mentors and role models at schools — she did not think she would have made it through.

The Girls Academy was founded by a former basketballer. Indigenous or Torres Strait Islander women feature in the organisation. They are not just the helped people, they are the majority of the staff.

As their website says

The Girls Academy program was founded in 2004 by Olympian and champion basketballer Ricky Grace (MEdL, BPoLSc) and works within the school system to drive community-led solutions aimed at overcoming the obstacles that prevent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls from attending and achieving at school.

Academy Girls receive intensive one-on-one mentoring and support from our team of skilled field staff, 80% of which are highly accomplished Indigenous women.

Our program increases the skills, employability, mental health and well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls throughout Australia – providing them with better opportunities to contribute to the social and economic outcomes of the wider community.

Christal Quartermain’s story is a poignant one. It is delightful to see how such an academy can help her find a path for her life.

You can look up The Girls Academy on LinkedIn,  follow them on Facebook and tweet them on Twitter. They share images on Instagram.

The featured poem is also about ladies achieving, by Ada Limon:

How To Triumph Like A Girl

I like the lady horses best,
how they make it all look easy,
like running 40 miles per hour
is as fun as taking a nap, or grass.
I like their lady horse swagger,
after winning. Ears up, girls, ears up!
But mainly, let’s be honest, I like
that they’re ladies.

More from the source at poets.org


We love bringing you the We Are the World Blogfest #WATWB of good news on the last Friday of each month.  Please join our anniversary celebrations by reading and sharing other posts. Thanks so much!

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Some bloggers spread STORIES OF LIGHT & PEACE on the final Friday of each month. Follow the hashtag #WATWB on social media.

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