27 October 2023

Lockhart River community receives $10,000 to support youth wellbeing

| Chisa Hasegawa
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Group of youth kicking around a ball on the beach.

On-country camps with local Elders will be a safe space for Lockhart River youth to receive social and emotional support. Photo: Puuya Foundation.

Lockhart River’s Puuya Foundation will begin on-country camps to support the wellbeing of young residents after receiving a $10,000 FRRR ABC Heywire grant.

The Kuunchi Kakana Walking in Wellness Project will take youth out on country with respected Elders in the community, offering early intervention and therapeutic-based activities to support social and emotional wellbeing.

Puuya Foundation CEO Emma Schuch explained that the project filled gaps in therapeutic services in a culturally appropriate way.

“Indigenous people have their own cultural mechanisms in responding to challenges in the social and emotional space, and not everyone goes and seeks a mainstream therapeutic service,” she said.

She explained that guidance from Elders would be an integral part of helping Indigenous youth to “navigate life’s obstacles”.

“Our Elders have been there, done that. They know what’s needed for a young person to become a confident and active member of our community,” she said.

“I’m confident that our respected Elders would be able to get their attention for that time on camp and get them to see that they are the next generation coming up.”

The Walking in Wellness Project will complement the currently running SONG Project (Strengthening Our Next Generation), which focuses on school attendance and education pathways.

“The youth came up with ideas of what they thought would be appropriate to complement the current programs that they were doing, and we found that there lack of social and emotional wellbeing support,” she said.

“We’ll definitely focus on building a safe space for Lockhart River youth and their families.”

The grant will allow the organisation to get the resources necessary for the camps.

“This $10,000 will assist in purchasing our camping equipment, with fuel going out on country, food and a qualified social and emotional wellbeing social worker,” she explained.

The first Walking in Wellness camp is set to take place next year after the wet season.

Puuya means strength or life force in the local Kuuku Ya’u language. The Puuya Foundation is a community-led organisation that aims to create and empower local leadership. For more information, go to https://www.puuya.foundation/

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