A good education can lay the foundation for success in life and achieving a higher level of education is one factor to help reduce Indigenous disadvantage in Australia. But many Indigenous youth face a multitude of barriers to completing their education and remain at high risk of disengaging from school. Stars Foundation provides educational mentoring and engagement programs that support Indigenous girls and young women to attend school, complete Year 12 and move into further study or work. Our intensive, wrap-around model supports girls for up to seven years – starting in upper primary school, through senior school and following school completion. It ensures a consistent support base across formative years and during critical transaction points. Key to the success of our program is full-time, in-school Mentors that develop strong, trusting relationships with participants and guide them daily to make positive choices towards realising their goals. Our Mentors provide daily transport, healthy meals, educational assistance, social and emotional support, and offer a wide variety of extra-curricular opportunities. Our program activities engage and motivate students, while building resilience, confidence and self-belief. They focus on four key areas of personal development– Education, Training and Employment; Healthy Lifestyles; Community, Culture and Leadership; Wellbeing – and are designed to address the specific needs of Indigenous girls and young women.
The Stars program uses an evidence-based model proven to create positive outcomes across a range of immediate and long-term education, health, social and employment indicators. Our primary objectives are to support Indigenous girls and young women to attend school, stay in school, complete Year 12 and transition successfully into further study or employment. Feedback from participants, parents, schools and communities about the program is overwhelmingly positive and Stars students show consistently outstanding outcomes. On average, each year
• Attendance rates are above regional averages and in many schools Stars students have closed the gap, attending more than all other students.
• Over 95% of Stars complete Year 12, compared to the Indigenous rate of only 65%.
• Over 85% of Stars graduates successfully transition to further study or employment, compared to Indigenous employment rate of just 41%. Other key outcomes of the program include:
• Development of resilience and knowledge, skills and confidence to make positive life choices
• Physical and mental health awareness and literacy
• Positive relationships and strengthened connection to community and culture
• Improved social and emotional wellbeing Educating girls has a powerful ripple effect, improving outcomes not only for the girls themselves but also their children, families, and communities. Investing in the education of Indigenous girls leaves a positive legacy for generations to come.
Stars Foundation is committed to highest levels of accountability and transparency. We have both quantitative and qualitative indicators to measure effectiveness of our program and operations.
Given each school and student group face unique challenges we consistently evaluate program design and delivery to best meet the needs of the local cohort. Our local teams collect data on program participation and activities. Attendance and Year 12 completion data is collected by schools and shared with our Managers. Program Managers also collate feedback from key stakeholders and report at the end of each Term. Our Transitions Managers collect data related to students transition to further study or work. Stories are regularly shared on our website and social media. Data from each program is collated to produce official Semester Reports [twice yearly] that are shared with key stakeholders. An Annual Report with independently audited Financial Statements is also produced and publicly available.
Stars Foundation provides full-time, in-school mentoring and engagement programs to around 2500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls and young women in 37 partner schools across the NT, QLD, VIC and WA. We were established in 2015 to address a significant inequity in the funding and provision of high-quality educational support programs for Indigenous girls, compared to Indigenous boys. Our mission is to support and enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls and young women to make active choices and realise their full potential in all aspects of their development and wellbeing. Our holistic, strengths-based approach draws on the latest evidence and years of experience. It is shown to result in positive outcomes across a range of indicators but is primarily aimed at improving attendance rates, increasing Year 12 completion and transitioning students successfully to further study or employment. In the past 6 years Stars Foundation has gained credibility and respect within Indigenous communities in which we work and are well trusted by our participants, parents and teachers. We are recognised for excellence in program delivery and social impact, our passionate leadership and strong, Indigenous-led governance. We are driven by a highly-experienced and dedicated team and guided by our values – Respect, Honesty, Commitment and Pride – in all that we do.