The Nallei Jerring Koori Youth Leadership Project will enter its ninth year in 2021.
And with over 35 participants already registered – amid the everchanging COVID-19 landscape – the program hopes to return to face-to-face delivery next month*, after transitioning to online in 2020.
Facilitated through the Western Bulldogs Community Foundation, the project focuses on providing young people aged between 13 and 15 from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community with experiences across Melbourne’s west.
Participants attend weekly sessions that help develop leadership skills and introduce them to more opportunities in the community.
Marayne Muller, a proud Palawa and Wiradjuri woman, said the opportunity to get involved as a program mentor was one she could not refuse.
“One of my driving values is to make a difference in the community, and I knew a program such as Nallei Jerring is what our young people needed,” Muller said.
“Every day I work, I know that I am there to make a difference to young people’s lives, to enable them to believe in themselves, show them that others believe in them too, and better the opportunities for young people in the west.
“I work hard to continue to do this and grow the program, motivated by the community and my Elders.”
Set to enter her third year as a mentor, Muller also highlighted how much of an impact the program has on past participants and their development.
“Nallei Jerring offers the opportunity for young people to do an Aboriginal Youth Leadership program through a lens not seen anywhere else in the west of Victoria,” she said.
“It provides a point of connection to the Aboriginal community, but also enables the young people to form lasting friendships with peers that they meet at the program.
“There’s amazing growth within each participant – we have seen young people enter the program with little to no confidence and ended the program doing speeches to their peers and community, taking up opportunities in school, and opportunities in the community.
“Our future is in amazing hands, and I know that each young person is destined for greatness and they can achieve anything they set their mind to.”
The 2021 Nallei Jerring Koori Youth Leadership Project is still accepting registrations. To register, please click here.
*Note: The WBCF is currently reviewing the Victorian Government COVID-19 restrictions and how they may affect the program’s delivery in 2021.