Youth Focus has joined forces with 1OFF store to create an opportunity for young people in Meekatharra to express their cultural heritage through art for NAIDOC Week 2022 (3 to 10 July 2022).
With support from the ABC Foundation, Yulella, Meekatharra District High School and the Meekatharra Youth Shire Services, 14 young people in Meekatharra will have the chance to create, design and paint their own pair of Air Force Sneakers.
Youth Focus Meekatharra mental health clinician, Nicholah Wasarirevu, said that this is a unique and meaningful project aimed at encouraging young people to draw on cultural knowledge and heritage to restore resilience, hope and a meaningful sense of community through creative art.
“This initiative creates an opportunity for young people’s designs to be recognised and teaches them employability skills within the creative industry.”
“It also creates an environment where young people in Meekatharra can learn mental health literacy and improve resilience, self-esteem, managing anxiety and connection to social and emotional wellbeing.”
The NAIDOC Week sneaker project has been generously supported by 1OFF, a unique, community-minded streetwear store based in Perth.
Owner of 1OFF, Alioune Jamal Diallo, shared that the goal of this project is to inspire young people to believe in their artist talents.
“The 1OFF concept is a safe platform for creatives to express and embrace their full selves,” said Jamal.
Each week, young people at Meekatharra High School will attend the Youth Focus Meekatharra office to design and create artwork for their sneakers. During this time, community members, Youth Focus staff, artists and others will be invited to present to the young people on a wide range of topics from art and design to caring for their own social and emotional wellbeing.
Two winning designs will be chosen by members of the Meekatharra community. The winner will have the opportunity to gift their sneakers to a West Coast Eagles and Fremantle Football Club player while still being able to keep a pair of sneakers for themselves.
Each young person will get to keep the sneakers that they create. Young people involved in the project will also be invited to choose an older family member or guardian to help create the design and share the experience.
Participants will also be given the opportunity to design a NAIDOC themed shirt to be sold at the 1OFF store. Profits from the sale of shirts in store will be donated to support Youth Focus services in Meekatharra.
Youth Focus has delivered services in Meekatharra and surrounds since 2018 to support disengaged young people to access crucial youth mental health support services.
NAIDOC Week will be held nationally from 3 to 10 July 2022. This year, the theme is “Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!”. This theme recognises the resilience and proud history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and highlights genuine commitment to support and secure institutional, structural, collaborative, and cooperative reforms.
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