Today marks ten years since then Prime Minster Kevin Rudd gave a landmark apology to Australia’s first peoples. Addressing parliament, Kevin Rudd apologised for the mistreatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, particularly those of the stolen generation. On this day – the ten year anniversary of the apology – Youth Off The Streets staff and volunteers reflect on what this apology means.
Youth Off The Streets is dedicated to providing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people with opportunities to make positive life choices. Our specialised Aboriginal Services team work to connect young people with their culture through cultural camps, dance groups and connecting with Aboriginal elders.
We work to help young people achieve greatness through academic and personal goals. We recognise the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and the significance of this apology.
Youth Off The Streets has developed a Reconciliation Action Plan for 2017 to 2019. It has been endorsed by Reconciliation Australia and we are currently implementing our plan. Ensuring all Youth Off The Streets staff members are culturally competent and aware is the first step towards empowering out Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people. (Read more about our RAP here).
Respect and understanding for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories and cultures has always been important to Father Riley and have been key to Youth Off The Streets core values. As we have expand into Indigenous communities we bring with us respect and understanding of the needs of the community, we work with leaders to ensure positive outcomes in our area of work.
We are proud of the strides we have made in working within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, but we acknowledge the need to remain adaptive in responding to the needs of our young people.