All smiles: Jen Rees Brown talks to Faith Woods after than were paired up for this year’s AIME mentoring program.
All smiles: Jen Rees Brown talks to Faith Woods after than were paired up for this year’s AIME mentoring program.

Students AIME for the stars

HER own cultural background wasn’t something Faith Woods had thought much about before attending her first Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience session.

The Year 10 Woolgoolga High School student was one of 18 indigenous students at yesterday’s session that matches high school students with tertiary mentors.

“I’m still working out what being Aboriginal means to me,” Miss Woods said. “I hadn’t really thought about it before.”

The mentoring program has teamed Miss Woods with people like Southern Cross University psychology student Jen Rees Brown. Together, the "teams" will navigate goals, educational opportunities, cultural heritage, social responsibility and ultimately, assist students like Faith in her ambition to study IT at university.

Ms Rees Brown said the program was very rewarding and she was already learning a great deal herself.

“It’s also great to be able to potentially contribute to tomorrow’s leaders and be a part of keeping our oldest culture alive,” she said.

The AIME initiative matches the students and mentors for one hour a week over a 17-week program.

Through sessions that focus principally on interactivity and leadership, AIME’s goals are to improve Year 10 and 12 completion rates and increase university admission rates.

“Southern Cross University has been willing to back this idea, and has now given their students a chance to connect with something completely new that can potentially change indigenous engagement in Coffs Harbour forever,” said AIME’s North Coast program manager Clark Webb

“It’s all about being role models for the young Aboriginal people in schools,” Mr Webb said. Yesterday was the second session for 2010 and the program has doubled nationally on last year’s numbers.

A total of 43 Year 9 and 10 students from Coffs Harbour, Woolgoolga, Toormina and Orara high schools are participating in the program.



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