National Reconciliation Week runs from 27 May to 3 June. Each year, Reconciliation highlights the issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in a broader Australian culture. This year’s theme of “Don’t Keep History a Mystery: Learn. Share. Grow” encourages us to learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and share that knowledge with others, my organisation Youth Off The Streets is dedicated to learning and teaching about these cultures.
Teaching our young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people about their culture and history is so important for building connections to their communities and families. At Youth Off The Streets we have an entire team dedicated to empowering and teaching young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people about their culture through dance programs, cultural camps, art lessons and many more tailored services.
I want to echo this year’s theme of teaching, but with an emphasis on teaching Australian people as a whole, not just Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Through all of our services at Youth Off The Streets we encourage our young people to attend cultural events, participate in programs and learn about the world’s oldest culture and they take immense value from this.
I also encourage my staff to continuously learn about our country’s cultural history and to be culturally aware. As part of our dedication to reconciliation, we have created a Reconciliation Action Plan to ensure all our staff are culturally aware and formally trained in cultural competencies and will actively embrace the principals and practices of reconciliation.
We are holding a reconciliation week event on 31 May at our Koch Centre For Youth and Learning in Macquarie Fields and I would love for anyone to join me for this event or to join your local community in any local events. This Reconciliation Week Don’t Keep History a Mystery: Learn. Share. Grow.
Father Chris Riley
CEO and Founder at Youth Off The Streets