Australian rugby league legend Johnathan Thurston continues to inspire Indigenous kids to strive through the JT Academy.
The inaugural cohort of participants chosen to attend his first JTBelieve camp from two far north Queensland Indigenous communities, Yarrabah and Kowanyama, were selected to attend the camp following their successful participation in the JTBelieve program over the past semester at their respective schools.
The JTBelieve program is one of a number of initiatives of the JTAcademy, developed to help young Australians, notably those in Indigenous communities, by providing them with the access and support to learn the values and strategies that have lead Johnathan Thurston AM to where he is.
“The JTBelieve program was designed to help kids improve their self-belief, confidence and courage in their future abilities and opportunities,” Thurston said.
“The JTBelieve program includes what is essentially a set of values and tools to develop these skills. When the kids agree to participate in the program, which is offered in some Queensland schools, they agree to a set of values and that commits them to being respectful of themselves, those around them and their community, both within the school and outside of it.
“We believe that by providing programs which help build up the self-belief, confidence, courage and skillsets of youth, they are being given the chance to make decisions about their future based on what they want and what they believe they can achieve.
“This program is only possible because of the federal funding we recently received from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy as well as the support of the community and school stakeholders who have supported the program from the outset.
“The more kids we can reach at school, that we can work with to provide the tools to build confidence, self-belief and a sense of purpose, the more those kids their families and communities will all benefit,” he said.
The camp will be attended by 20 students and staff from the two communities, who have successfully completed the JTBelieve program over the past semester.
The camp is a reward for the students dedicated participation in the JTBelieve program where they will have the opportunity to partake in several fun activities along with the highlight of meeting their hero.
Over 50 students applied to take part in the JTBelieve program. These students submitted applications to nominate to be part of the program and the successful applicants were chosen by community and school representatives.
“At the JTAcademy, we are driven to provide opportunities for youth so they can enjoy a better future for themselves,” Samantha Johnson, JTAcademy General Manager said.
“We have been able to build some fantastic corporate partnerships and are striving to reach as many youth as possible, but we cannot do it by ourselves.
“Partnerships like this where the federal government provides the funding and we provide the programs with the support of the community are effective at making sure those who are most in need of this kind of support are able to access it.
“We look forward to being able to introduce the JTBelieve Program across more of Queensland and then nationally."