Barambah Girls Academy overcoming obstacles
AS RUNNERS raced across the finish line at the Murgon Rail Trail Festival at the weekend, a group within the crowd had another reason to celebrate.
Organisers from the Barambah Girls Academy took their students to the event on Sunday as an incentive.
Based at Cherbourg State School and Murgon primary and high schools, girls in the program were given the opportunity to attend the festival if they had full school attendance.
Barambah Girls Academy program manager Leena Lehtonen was amongst the organised chaos as the girls took on the festival's obstacle course.
"Opportunities like this give the girls an enjoyable experience and also the chance to relate and connect with staff members," Ms Lehtonen said.
"We try to come to two community events per term as an incentive for them to achieve full school attendance.
"By having reward days, it gives the girls who are maybe not attending school the motivation to improve their level of attendance."
Established in February, the mentoring program is a leading provider of school-based engagement programs for Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander girls.
Along with her colleagues senior development officer Kylee Brown and development officer Audrey Conlon, Ms Lehtonen works with the girls to support them academically.
"We provide them with the necessary resources to get through school and help them to graduate," she said.
Founded by Olympian and champion basketballer Ricky Grace in 2004, the Girls Academy is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to create positive change.
With the mission statement, "Develop a Girl, Change a Community" as a focal point, the program aims to increase the skills, employability, mental health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls throughout Australia.