In 2008, Jane Stratton, Director of the Think+DO Tank, was the Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Gilbert + Tobin Lawyers in Sydney. She developed an innovative program for Indigenous youth in the Greater Sydney Area called How Big Are Your Dreams?. She led the program for the University of Technology, Sydney; Tranby Aboriginal College; and Gilbert + Tobin Lawyers until December 2011.
How Big Are Your Dreams? was an innovative program for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We thought of it as a dressing room in which participants could try on all kinds of ambitions and possibilities; an unfamiliar classroom in which they could learn by doing and experimenting; a stage from which they could tell stories that they cared about; a tall ladder that offered fresh perspectives and new opportunities; and a warm home away from home where they would find a supportive network of young people like themselves, and adults who are committed to them.
In December 2011, all 14 participants of the program graduated at a ceremony at Tranby Aboriginal College. You can see their achievements over their year with us here and revel in the experiences and community around the young people in these photos.
Jane led a talented team of four youth arts workers (Jada Alberts, Alec Doomadgee, Rosie Pearson/Zoe Miller, Vinnie McManus) whose skills range across the performance and media arts. The program ran throughout the school year and continues to provide ongoing support to its alumni to this day.
In 2011, there were 14 wonderful young people in the program, supported by six alumni from the pilot program (2009) as peer supporters. It was a joyous program, and was independently evaluated as a highly effective strategy to support young people and their families to strengthen their own reasons and resolve to remain strongly connected to education and training.