Edition 18: May 2017

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Tackling the tough issues

The Tamworth Opportunity Hub has been busy getting its teeth into some of the tough issues facing our school students through its participation in local initiatives that are tackling drugs and bullying among other things.  

The region's first ever Ice Forum, an initiative of NSW Member for Tamworth, Kevin Anderson MP, was held in early April and exposed almost 1000 year 9 students to powerful personal stories about the impact of the drug on individuals, their families and communities.  The Opportunity Hub has been proud to take a role in following-up students, their questions and concerns as a result of this important event (see article in this newsletter).

The Opportunity Hub has also been working intensively with partners Centacare, headspace, Careers Network and Tamworth Family Support Service and Public School Principals to commence surveying school students about bullying. The survey has been designed to capture very specific information about the type, breadth and effect of bullying in Tamworth schools.  An analysis of the results will inform the development of two bullying forums targeted to students' needs that will be held later this year.

In this edition:

  • Welcome Aboard!
  • Youth expo provides opportunities
  • Memorial Garden opens at Tamworth High
  • Easter activities for students
  • Inaugural Ice Forum a success
  • Midnight Basketball - Tournament Workshops and Graduate Opportunities
  • A touch of culture at the Tamworth Show

Welcome aboard!

Samantha Duncan and Jacob Stanton are the two newest additions to the Tamworth Opportunity Hub team and commenced in trainee roles in late April. Both Samantha and Jacob first came in contact with the Opportunity Hub as students, and are now wanting to give back to the program that helped them, while giving back to their community.

Samantha completed Year 12 in 2015 and over the last year has tried out a number of different jobs and career options - working in the processing and hatchery divisions at Baiada and in a fast food retail position before starting as an early childhood educator at Billabong Daycare centre.  Sam says that she is excited by the prospect of getting back to her community in the Opportunity Hub position. "I am most looking forward to getting into the community, meeting new people, sharing my knowledge of work and helping young people," Sam said.

Jacob also rates the opportunity to work closely with and for the Tamworth Aboriginal community as one of the best parts of the Opportunity Hub position.  "I look at what the Opportunity Hub has done for me, and now I will be able to do that for someone else," he said.

Both trainees will commence studying a Diploma in Community Services whilst completing their traineeship.

In the Tamworth LALC Office you will also notice a new face with Hollie Taggart joining the TLALC Admin team.  Hollie also began her connection with the LALC as an Opportunity Hub student through Tamworth High School, and has been a regular since the Opp Hub's inception 3 years ago.  Hollie has now commenced a Traineeship in Certificate II Business Studies. She will be working in both the TLALC and the Opp Hub in her role. She is proving to be a great asset and is taking on the role with enthusiasm.

Working alongside Hollie this week is Dakota Appleby, a Year 10 student from Oxley High School who is part of the Girls Academy.  Dakota has been involved with the Opportunity Hub since Year 8, and her involvement with our programs at Oxley led her to choose to do her work experience here. On completion of Year 12, Dakota is hoping to follow a career in Nursing.
New friendly faces in the TLALC office are Administration trainee Hollie Taggart (L) and work experience student Dakota Appleby (R).
Youth expo provides opportunities

As part of Youth Week celebrations, the Tamworth Regional Council Youthie held a Youth Expo which saw 10 service providers showcasing the services available to local young people.  Participants included the Tamworth Opportunity Hub, TAFE, Centacare, headspace, Tamworth Family Support Services, Joblink Plus, Challenge and more.  Our service information and personalised advice about available support services was provided to high school students from Oxley High School, the Parry School and Quirindi High School who all attended on the day.

Tamworth Opportunity Hub staff Jacob and Deb speaking with students at the Youth Expo

Memorial Garden Opens at Tamworth High


The Brian Sampson Memorial Garden was officially opened at Tamworth High School in early April.

Fondly known as Bimbo, Brian was a champion of Aboriginal culture and language not only for Tamworth High, but across the schools in the Tamworth area, and the school has initiated the project to plant the garden in his honour.  The students and AEOs have planted bush tucker and medicinal plants and trees.

In February the Tamworth Opportunity Hub staff were honoured to be involved in assisting Tamworth High School and local Elder, Brian's father, Neville Sampson with preparation and plantings to establish the Garden.

Photo credits: The Northern Daily Leader

Easter activities for students
The Easter School Holidays saw the Tamworth Local Aboriginal Land Council facilitate a number of activities for Tamworth Opportunity Hub students, including opportunities for two cultural site visits.

Activities were facilitated by Lakeisha Hile, and among those on offer were a card-making day with Kim Thomson, and a yoga and well-being day with Charlie Abra.  Other students took up the opportunity to attend a knowledge sharing trip to Boundary Rock with Elder Bob Faulkner and Len Waters.  A
n informative talk provided about the Boundary Rock and its significance to the Gomeroi and Anaiwan people.  Feedback from the 40+ people who attended was that everyone enjoyed the day and were left with a greater understanding of the site.

The opportunity of a daytrip up to the Mt Yarrowyk Aboriginal art site for four students was provided in partnership with NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.
Inaugural Ice Forum a Success

The 5 - 6 April saw almost 1000 year 9 students converge on the TRECC to attend the region's first ever Ice Forum which provided powerful personal stories and education about the impact of drugs.

The event was an initiative of NSW Member for Tamworth, Kevin Anderson MP.  Guest speakers included Luke Kennedy who told his own story about how drugs had affected his life and his recovery, covering topics such as drugs, alcohol, healthy living, mental health and the choices we make to keep us true to ourselves.  

Other speakers included a 28-year veteran of the NSW Police Force, local identity Ray Tait who is a paramedic of 45 years experience, Tamworth Aboriginal Medical Service, headspace and 360 Fitness.

Tamworth Local Aboriginal Land Council and Opportunity Hub staff attended each of the sessions to ensure that we could take a role in following-up on all of the questions posed by students on the day and in the weeks after the event.  The event has been hailed an outstanding success, and the Tamworth Opportunity Hub is very proud to have been associated with it through our role at the event and on the planning committee.

Photo credit: The Northern Daily Leader - Luke Kennedy addressing the year 9s at the Forum
Midnight Basketball


The first tournament of the year of Midnight Basketball has now come to a close and students were treated to a range of exciting workshops again.  Some of the most popular workshops of the season included a team building night, a presentation by the Hunter River Lancers, and a Bush Kids First Aid workshop led by medical students from the University of Newcastle Department of Rural Health.  The First Aid workshops (pictured) taught our students some first aid foundations including CPR, bandaging and treating burns.

The Midnight Basketball tournament has also been used to provide some of our "graduate" players with opportunities to build their resumes and leadership skills. Four of our post-school students have taken on referee roles for the games.  The referee position attracts a small amount of remuneration, so along with their Referee Certificate training, Tamworth Opportunity Hub staff held a workshop with them to teach them about invoicing and using Statements by Supplier, which will assist them into the future.
A touch of culture at the Tamworth Show

As part of the school students day at the Tamworth Show on 24 March, Opportunity Hub staff Patrick and Jacob presented a Weapons and Artefacts display supported by Tamworth LALC staff Brittni Wann, Lakeisha Hile and Hollie Taggart.  Primary school students from across Tamworth paid $5 to attend the school excursion to the Show, and in return recieved a “Passport” that allowed them to attend and experience fifteen different areas of the Show over a full day.  $3.00 of the entry fee from each child was donated by the Tamworth P&A Society to Ronald McDonald House.
The event was very successful with over 800 students attending over the day.

The Tamworth Opportunity Hub coordinates and matches training and career opportunities with Aboriginal students, providing incentives to finish school and transition into sustainable jobs. 

Tamworth Opportunity Hub can be contacted at:
Address: 123 Marius Street, TAMWORTH NSW 2340
Phone: (02) 6766 9028; Fax: (02) 6766 9036
Facebook: Opportunity Hub Tamworth or via the link below

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