The Cathy Freeman Foundation (now known as Community Spirit Foundation) is set to expand its program work and provide greater educational opportunities for young people living in remote communities in partnership with UNICEF Australia.
Students in the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community of Woorabinda will make great strides towards their future goals with a new 12-month ‘Sprint Passport Program’. The initiative is designed to empower 15 to 18-year-olds to plan and build on their innate strengths as they transition from secondary school to tertiary education or the world of work.
With the support of UNICEF Australia, the Sprint Passport Program will provide training and skills development for up to 80 local students, with 10 to receive tailored personalised guidance, as part of the partnership which prioritises adolescents in remote communities.
"I believe education does change lives and I am happy to see our Sprint Passport Program being piloted in Woorabinda this year."
In announcing the partnership today, Cathy Freeman, whose father was born in Woorabinda, said: “I believe education does change lives and I am happy to see our Sprint Passport Program being piloted in Woorabinda this year. We look forward to seeing its successes and learnings along the way.
“The foundation has been working for 14 years to implement community-led, long term partnerships with Indigenous communities, employing local people and working in a sustainable way. We’re proud to partner with UNICEF Australia to launch the first Sprint Passport Program in Australia to support young people in Woorabinda on their path to lifelong fulfillment and personal satisfaction.”
Nicole Breeze, Director of Australian Programs for UNICEF Australia, said: “UNICEF Australia and the Cathy Freeman Foundation are united in our belief that all Australian children should have an equal opportunity to realise their developmental potential.
“We are thrilled to announce a long-term partnership with the Cathy Freeman Foundation, starting with the Sprint Passport Program in Woorabinda. The program will be implemented at a community level and enable young people to access the support, skills, and education they need.”
The program is run by Cathy Freeman Foundation Program Coordinator, Ivy Yoren, a Rockhampton local whose parents were both born in Woorabinda.
“When I moved to Woorabinda there were no other youth organisations delivering short courses, helping students with basic life skills and setting them up for jobs in the near future,” said Ms Yoren.
"This program will give students and their parents confidence in what they want to achieve."
Almost half the population of Woorabinda is under 20 years of age and it is important we support these young people to have the best education outcomes and optimal opportunities in life. Through the Sprint Passport Program students can complete ‘micro-credentials’ such as obtaining their driver’s licence, a first aid certificate or skills that will help them on the path to the world of work, or to pursue further study.
CEO for the Cathy Freeman Foundation, Jade Colgan, said: “I think the work of the Cathy Freeman Foundation is really important because it’s Aboriginal run and led. We employ local people in each of our partner communities to run our programs locally. It’s about empowering young people and students on their education journey and connecting more and more families to their child’s education. We feel very privileged that we’re able to be part of that education journey with each of the young people that we work with.”
Stay up-to-date on UNICEF's work in Australia and around the world
9 Nov 2022
These six young climate activists demand action and inspire hope
As the world witnesses the dramatic weather events unfolding around the world, there are increasingly more young people demanding action.
18 Aug 2022
We won’t forget them. One year since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan.
On 15 August 2021, the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan and UNICEF pledged to stay and deliver. After decades of unrest and natural disaster, the country remains in crisis, and it’s a child rights crisis.
14 Aug 2022
Empowering young people in remote Australia
Dakota has already gained an impressive list of achievements, thanks to a new initiative by the Community Spirit Foundation supported by UNICEF Australia.
18 July 2022
Five myths about UNICEF
Although we are a United Nations agency, we receive no funding from them. We rely entirely on voluntary contributions from national governments and private donors like you.
15 July 2022
Rethinking screen-time for children in the time of COVID-19
How can children and families make the most of the increased reliance on screens, especially during lockdown?
16 May 2022
Headlines we can't forget about
News stories come and go quickly. Every so often a story will gather attention, only to fizzle out with the onslaught of another headline.
5 Apr 2022
More than just a month of fasting
As UNICEF Young Ambassadors past and present, these incredible young people have come together this Ramadan for a bigger purpose. Find out why this holy month of Ramadan is such an important time to give, reflect and to come together as a community, no matter who you are or what your beliefs.
17 Mar 2022
New life in a basement
Yuliya gently rocks her newborn baby in the basement of a medical centre in Kyiv. Vera is only days old, but her life is already in danger.
2 Mar 2022
How to talk to children about the conflict in Ukraine
The escalating conflict in Ukraine is a terrifying situation for children across the country. Families have been forced to leave everything behind and flee their homes.
5 Dec 2021
Test cricket captain Pat Cummins' promise to children
We are thrilled to announce that Pat Cummins has joined the UNICEF Australia family as an Ambassador.