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My Life Now for young people with parents in prison

With 'Colourful Dreaming', SHINE for Kids aims to support Indigenous children in rural NSW who have an incarcerated parent to participate in artistic and cultural activities.

Primary outcomes

  1. This program supports at-risk Aboriginal children aged 10–15 years who have a parent in prison. It encourages these children to explore their personal challenges through artwork and increase their sense of cultural identity. Cultural knowledge is transmitted between Aboriginal Elders and children, and contact is promoted between the children and their imprisoned fathers.
  2. The program increases public awareness of Wiradjuri culture within the prison system and the wider community through a travelling exhibition of artworks created by the participating children. Each location for the exhibition has featured an opening night with invitations circulated to the organisation's network of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal community groups, prison staff, and members of the public. The program is also promoted to the organisation's volunteers and supporters.
  3. Group cultural workshops focus on Wiradjuri clan totems; bush tucker; breathing techniques for playing the didgeridoo; traditional stories; and art.
  4. The children are encouraged to:
    • build positive family relationships
    • develop awareness of their emotions
    • communicate with their incarcerated parents
    • develop increased self esteem in a supportive environment.

The program aims to significantly improve the life chances of participants and reduce the risk of their future involvement in crime by strengthening social support and cultural connections.

This project is made possible by financial support from the Australian Government's ICS.

The program was initially developed and conducted from 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011 in Wagga Wagga, Junee and Narrandera. It has been made possible with financial support from the Australian Government's Indigenous Cultural Support (ICS).

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