Aunty Deb has been the Aboriginal Community Education Officer at Salisbury North Primary School for a little while now. She spoke with Mark from GO.

“I have known Michael since he was a little kid running around at the Kaurna footy carnivals. He used to play footy with the girls and always be the first to line up at the oval canteen” laughs Aunty Deb. “Nah, he was a beautiful young man, always practicing his kicking and tackling. He would watch his uncles and mimic them – he concentrated very hard. Micky and Ricky (his brother) used to watch and mimic what they saw their uncles do. His discipline and determination started then.”

Aunty Deb, a Ngarrindjeri woman is a strong supporter of GO and sees the impact it has firsthand. “At our school, the GO Foundation Scholarships have been a God send to the scholars and their families. It helps the student at the school as well as supporting the families with school needs.”

What about when COVID struck? “Well, COVID did affected many of our vulnerable students and their families. Job losses, I mean, the whole country felt it. But the support from GO meant that students at our school did not miss out on any activities.” For Aunty Deb, inclusion is a big thing and being part of the community is essential. “We also use the scholarship to ensure that each of the GO Scholars are given a new school uniform. This means that there is no shame – there is a pride that comes with being a part of the school with new uniforms.” And she is spot on when it comes to the importance of pride in a young person’s life. “Don’t underestimate this” Aunty Deb says with a determined look, “pride and self-belief”

“Overall, though, it gives our students a bit of self-worth and self-determination, but don’t underestimate this, because this changes the way the young kids think. They are proud and positive and when young kids think like that, they act like that. I believe this is the key to a bright future for each of our kids.”

“I like the GO Foundation because GO works where it is needed most, but neither GO or Salisbury North believe in a deficit model. We don’t think or act that way. Our community is beautiful, and our kids have a rich sense of who they are and where they are from.”

“Our kids,” says Aunty Deb, “like us, they are more than a label. We all have the ability to rise above what other people think. Once you see and believe that your expectations of them rise and so too the expectations of themselves. We believe in them; GO believes in them and they believe in themselves. Pretty special huh?”