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Kath Dickson Family Centre

Serving, protecting and empowering families since 1975

serving, protecting and empowering families since 1975serving, protecting and empowering families since 1975

Kath Dickson Family Centre Blog

Kath Dickson Family Centre to focus on Closing the Gap

- Thursday, June 08, 2017

Kim Walmsley (left) from Kath Dickson Family CentreThe Kath Dickson Family Centre will announce a bold change in their strategic direction today, with the launch of the Bareibunn Karulbo Strategy.

Translating to mean ‘Dream Together’, the Strategy articulates an organisational-wide approach for working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to Close the Gap.

Chairman of the Kath Dickson Family Centre Board, Dr Craig Russell, said the strategic decision fulfils the organisation’s original charter to serve and protect children and families within our community who are disadvantaged or at risk.

“Aboriginal people are well behind in all health and most education indicators, so we felt like we needed to focus on the whole family – look at how they fit into society and helping them with their wellbeing,” Dr Russell explained.

“If you want to improve the health status and employability of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people then you have to focus on education. You’ve got to start when the children are 2-3 years of age – we want them to see education as their birthright.”

Dr Russell said a key part of the strategy is to work collaboratively with existing service providers, including Kulila Kindergarten and Carbal Medical Centre.

“The approach we have taken is to compliment their services in helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – get in there and supplement their resources,” Dr Russell explained. 

“Nothing is going to be a quick fix – we are going to be need 20-30 years. But I have this feeling in this community that we are at a turning point, and I hope that the work we’re doing at Kath Dickson is going to help turn things around.”

Kath Dickson Family Centre Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Jude Mills, said the Strategy aims to improve and Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander outcomes across four main areas: early childhood education, communtiy engagement, cultural understanding and training and employment.

“This is our main focus for the next five years. As a not-for-profit organization we do not have deep pockets, but are prepared to commit to this action plan with every cent we have,” Jude said. 

“The Bareibunn Karulbo Strategy is something we can be proud of and we are hopeful that we will gain support from benefactors, as well as the government sector, to ensure this plan is successful.”

Director of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Programs at Kath Dickson Family Centre, Kim Walmsley (pictured), said she believes the Strategy will build capability in individuals and families by encouraging them to realise their untapped potential.

“It’s about discovering that we can be successful and happy even if the goals are small to begin with or our numeracy and literacy is not up to scratch,” Kim explained.

“It’s empowering people through consistent, constructive and positive relationships that can inevitably gain confidence to expand minds and hearts for future generations.”

A descendant of the Mununjli people of Beaudesert and the Wiradjuri People of New South Wales, Kim believes a key part of the strategy is giving Indigenous people permission to be proud of their culture. 

“We have started running playgroups for Indigenous children that are culturally based – getting back to yarning circles which is what we have been going for thousands of years,” Kim explained.

“We need to rebuild ourselves in a strong way. We need to empower ourselves. I don’t want to be sitting here in 10 or 20 years time and be saying that the gap is still here. We need to be more proactive and together.”

No-cost certificate training for parents, free transport to kindergarten, counselling and a friendship club to create bridges of understanding are also initiatives explored in the Strategy.

“Bareibunn Karulbo is the spark that will ignite a new generation of lifelong learners in walking together in conciliation. We don’t see this as a five year plan, but a forever plan that will get stronger with age,” Kim said. 

For more information, contact Kim Walmsley on 07 4633 8400 or kwalmsley@kdfc.com.au