14 June 2014

Young Indigenous leaders’ futures are limitless

Posted in At-Risk / Indigenous youth / School life

For two Indigenous boys at Baralaba State School, life has taken a huge turn in the last 12 months thanks to the Limitless program for at-risk young people.

Limitless, rolled out for the first time in Central Queensland in Semester 2 of 2013, is an interactive, adventure-based, team-building program. It is suited for ‘at-risk’ students, those more suited to hands-on learning, and students aspiring to grow in leadership skills.

The program was introduced by CQ Limitless Coordinator, Pete Bramhall, and Baralaba State School Chaplain, Joey Parnell, and made a big impact in the lives of the boys involved.

There were challenging moments, breakthrough high points, and in depth discussions about the students’ fears and self-sabotaging habits, which limit their potential,” says Chappy Joey. “I noticed significant changes over the semester, particularly with two students, Ardin and Terry, who, with some encouragement and guidance, became prominent leaders of the group.

At first they used their influence negatively – for attention and ‘badboy’ status. But over time, they became convinced of the value of using their influence to benefit and not hinder others. They became more focused, helpful and engaged. They became the role models I had hoped they could be.

At the beginning of this year, both boys stepped forward to take up leadership positions in their school. With her principal’s permission, Joey helped the boys prepare their speeches by reminding them of what they had learned during the Limitless program about confidence, integrity, humility and having a desire to help others.

Both boys were selected by their peers, and are now serving as sports captain and school captain.

When I started as a chaplain, I had no idea how I was going to connect with Indigenous teenage boys, or what we had in common,” says Joey.

God simply put love, patience and acceptance in my heart, and I trusted the process and the people around me who had the experience I lacked.

I now enjoy an easy, warm relationship with these boys, and I look forward to building on the foundation of last year in 2014!

Please contact Colin Usher on 07 3112 6451 if you’d like more information about the Limitless program.


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