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Aboriginal Youth Gala Day held in District

Strengthening community partnerships.

Man holding a microphone speaking to a crowd with his hand up
SydneyConnect Image: Rabbitohs veteran and South Cares Deadly Youth Mentor Yileen Gordon

Young people from around the District were invited to a day of outdoor fun for the District’s first Aboriginal Youth Gala Day.

Held at Camperdown Park in Sydney’s Inner West, local communities and stakeholders were invited to participate in sports and activities, enjoy a feed, and line up for a flu or COVID vaccination.

The Gala Day is an opportunity to enhance our partnership with community organisations and the District’s Aboriginal community and to promote healthy lifestyles.

“It was one of the outcomes from our Aboriginal group consultations. The District [regularly] has Aboriginal elders coming together and discussing their lived experience with the health services. One of those ideas were, we wanted to engage more with our Aboriginal Youth,” Deputy Director of the Aboriginal Health Unit Ricky Lyons said.

A Welcome to Country was provided by Uncle Ray Davidson, from the Metropolitan Aboriginal Land Council, and official opening by George Long, Executive Director of the District’s Aboriginal Health Unit.

Everyone was encouraged to join in rugby drills and games run by the South Sydney Footy Clinic, with District staff and community members joining in with a pass or two.

Younger kids also enjoyed interacting with the reptiles and insects from Feature Creatures, and the face painting by The Face Painter.

A free morning tea and barbecue was provided by the District’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff, and ice cream and coffee from Walk About Coffee.

“[Outreach programs like this are important] to really engage a community and break down any sort of stigma in health, to show that we are people too who work in this community, and everything is accessible – it’s just a matter of taking a dive and getting amongst it,” Rabbitohs veteran and South Cares Deadly Youth Mentor, Yileen Gordon said.

South Cares supports disadvantaged and marginalised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth and their families through mentoring and capacity building and played an integral part in the success of the Gala Day.

Information was also available to older youth about alternative pathways and learning experiences through the presence of pop-up stands from the University of Technology Sydney and EORA Tafe.

With one of the biggest urban Aboriginal populations in the state, Sydney Local Health District’s Aboriginal Health Unit aims to have the healthiest Aboriginal community in Australia. The Unit continues to build on partnerships and work together to ensure District health services are culturally appropriate and welcoming for local communities and their families.