Organisation: Glass Jar Australia (Shooting Stars)
Project: Seven Sisters Program
Location: Regional locations across WA
Requested Amount: $19,935 from a total project cost of $53,860.
This grant will be used to fund a casually employed program coordinator and travel and accommodation to regional sites.
Overview: The Seven Sisters program will provide Aboriginal girls and women with opportunities to develop positive social and emotional wellbeing skills and preventative mental health strategies, which can enable them to respond and adapt to life challenges.
Who is the organisation and what is their mission?
Shooting Stars uses sport and other tools to encourage greater school engagement among young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) girls and women. The program empowers ATSI girls in regional and remote communities to make informed choices about their education and employment journeys. Program Coordinators are ATSI women who are responsible for the day-to-day management and implementation of the program. Outcomes are measured and reported using an Indigenous evaluation protocol, Yarning Circles.
What is the project that the 100 Women grant will support?
Seven Sisters is a 10-week program that provides ATSI girls and women with positive social and emotional wellbeing skills and preventative mental health strategies to enable them to respond to life challenges. The program combines a focus on physical and mental health, enabling participants to identify their emotional triggers and stress responses, and how to manage these via physical exertion and competitive play on a netball court.
Who is the project for? Who else will benefit?
The Seven Sisters Program will be delivered to about 350 existing Shooting Stars Program participants across eight locations in regional WA. Pilot testing will occur in Narrogin during term three and term four 2020. Following evaluation and refinement, the program will be gradually rolled out to other sites in 2021.
The program is being tested in environments with established relationships between participants and facilitators. Ultimately, the aim is to see the program utilised beyond schools where Shooting Stars is already present, in more WA schools and netball clubs.
Why is the project needed – what is the need or opportunity that is being addressed?
The health and wellbeing challenges faced by the ATSI peoples are well known and a critical focus of the Government’s Closing the Gap initiative. Aboriginal girls and women are particularly vulnerable in many ways, including increased experiences of physical or threatened assault compared to non-Aboriginal women.
COVID-19 has injected increased stress, uncertainty and hardship into the lives of many Australian communities. Its impacts are likely to be felt more acutely among groups with pre-existing socio-economic, health and wellbeing challenges, such as many ATSI communities.
Why is the solution the best answer to the identified need or opportunity?
The Seven Sisters program aims to give ATSI participants practical skills and strategies to build physical and mental health resilience, particularly in the face of the current heightened-risk environment post COVID-19.
The Seven Sisters Program is designed to improve the physical and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal girls, based on and informed by research conducted with the girls themselves as part of the Yarning with the Stars Research Project. Since 2016, the research project has led to the establishment of more than 70 ‘yarning circles’ conducted with Aboriginal girls and their communities at Shooting Stars sites. As part of the research, participants identified how relationships with peers and teachers, and their ability to manage stress and emotions at school, strongly affected their ability and desire to remain in class. Bullying, mental health and suicide prevention were all reported to be strongly linked in the eyes of Shooting Stars program participants.
What impact is planned to occur as a result of the project?
The Seven Sisters program was developed in line with ATSI perspectives on social and emotional health. Anticipated impacts of the program include:
- Improved mental health outcomes for young ATSI women – specifically their ability to recognise and manage stress responses and emotional triggers;
- Improvements in young ATSI women’s relationship-building and teamwork skills;
- Improvements in young ATSI women’s physical fitness and netball skills;
- Better mental health literacy and improved knowledge of, and access to, community mental health services; and
- A better evidence base for interventions.