TRACTION for Redlands’ Indigenous Youth

Heartfelt thanks to the St. George Foundation for supporting TRACTION with a community grant to fund a project that will help ensure access to our programs for more Indigenous young people in the Redlands region.

The St. George Foundation invests in projects that improve the lives of children in Australia who are experiencing physical, social or economic disadvantage. They partner with community organisations who attract little funding from government and who aren’t big enough to generate significant fundraising income on their own.

The TRACTION program offers action-based, early intervention educational programs for vulnerable youth, building critical skills and confidence that enable re-engagement with education and community.

This project will deliver a customised TRACTION Bicycle Build program for 24 x 12-15 year old Indigenous youth from the Redland Bay community (south of Brisbane) over a 12 month period, including those from Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island) and other Redland Island communities.

It was a privilege for the TRACTION team to work alongside two groups of young people as they graduated the first programs in the project in Term 2, 2020.

A highlight was a visit by Matthew Burns, a Quandamooka man and Traditional Owner of Minjerribah, who delivered a cultural awareness education session with the participants, which included a cultural talk, artefacts display and traditional fire-lighting activity.

The project features the TRACTION Bicycle Build program and involves participants working closely with specialist trainer-mentors in stripping back, re-building and customising bicycles in a workplace-like environment where they learn not only basic bicycle mechanics, but more importantly, valuable life, resilience, social, team and communication skills that promote re-engagement.

Participants work hard, embracing and overcoming difficulty in learning, from which they will ultimately develop a sense of pride and self-worth. This teaches important life lessons and job skills relevant for their futures; where they come to recognise the value of effort, and that confidence comes from dealing with challenges.

Participants graduate from the program with their self-customised bike to keep as reward for a job well done, instilling pride; promoting healthy lifestyles, freedom and independence; and providing for some participants, a vital mode of transport to school and/or work.

Thanks to the St. George Foundation, two more groups of young people will participate in the project in early 2021.

Special thanks also to Sealink Ferries for supporting Matthew Burn’s involvement with TRACTION.

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