The NAIDOC 2023 theme – For our Elders – is a tribute to the significant contributions of the Elders in our community. This is so true for us here at Youth Focus – the wisdom and honesty of our Elders help us shape our services and connect with our communities.
Our Reconciliation Working Group meetings are particularly special, as we’re joined by Elders Aunty Muriel Bowie and Aunty Cheryl Phillips. At our last meeting, the Aunties presented Youth Focus with an intricately carved Boab seed, as a mark of their “appreciation in working towards making a difference and change”.
“Aunty Cheryl spoke about her gratitude for the work Youth Focus is doing and it was extremely moving, mainly because, I think, the entire RWG actually all feel immense gratitude towards both Aunty Cheryl and Aunty Muriel for their time, patience and wise counsel,” RWG member Kate Mahon explained.
“If not for them, our RWG would have no meaning. Their contribution and presence is the glue that holds our work together, and keeps us in check. But to have the Aunties express gratitude to YF shows the high regard they both have for the process of Reconciliation at YF and the commitment of the organisation to achieving real change.
“Aunty Cheryl constantly reminds us ‘Debarkan, Debarkan’ (slowly, slowly), acknowledging that Reconciliation is not a race, but an important journey, and that relationships are one of the keys to its success.”