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Campus News : March 2012
MARCH 2012 CONNECT :UOW 9 CONNECT: SUPPORT The new Program Manager for the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) at UOW Nadia Neal has a first-hand example of the value of the program that was established to redress imbalance in high school completion rates between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. Nadia was one of the first students to volunteer as an AIME mentor when the program started at UOW in 2008, the year she started at UOW studying a double major in Population Health and Indigenous Health. Nadia has taken over as AIME's Wollongong Program Manager from Jake Trindorfer, who established it at UOW four years ago and has now moved onto another role within AIME. And as Nadia takes the helm the first high school student she mentored is following in her footsteps by enrolling to study Indigenous Health at UOW this year. For Nadia, a member of the Wodi Wodi community of the Illawarra, getting involved in AIME was a great introduction to university life as well as an opportunity to give back to her people. She started by mentoring her first student at Warilla High, and feels a great sense of satisfaction that she has now progressed to university. "I loved going back to the community and working NADIA NEW FACE OF INDIGENOUS MENTORING with the youth," she said. "It is a lot of fun, and through AIME I met so many Indigenous and non- Indigenous people who shared the same passion of giving back to the community and helping the students complete high school and move on to further study. "AIME is now operating at 10 university sites. Across all our sites we see kids come through the AIME program and when they enter uni, many are becoming mentors themselves." Nadia said Mr Trindorfer had done a tremendous job establishing AIME at UOW, and described her new role as her "dream job". Now she is determined to build on AIME's success at UOW. "We have almost 300 Indigenous high school students paired one-on-one with mentors for an hour a week for 15 weeks, while others are involved as tutors at our afternoon learning sessions at the Aboriginal Corporation Centre in Wollongong and as members of our tutor squads which go out to schools during school hours to help the students. "We also run an Outreach Program where school students located within two to three hours of the UOW campus visit for a full day, three times a year, which really helps to break down the barriers between kids and the University. I hope to get even more people involved. The (Indigenous) kids love seeing more people supporting them and encouraging them to complete high school." Nadia said there was clear evidence that participating in AIME gave Indigenous high school students the skills, opportunities and confidence to not only complete high school but to then transition to university, TAFE or other tertiary education. She said many non-Indigenous students, including international students, volunteered for AIME, while many graduates stayed involved after they had completed their studies. "It can also be an education for the mentors, because for many non-Indigenous people it is their first experience with the Indigenous community," she said. Nadia said Faculty of Education Dean Professor Paul Chandler had been a major supporter of AIME at UOW, and that the strong support from the University and the local community had played a key role in its success. AIME is looking for volunteer mentors for their 2012 program. To volunteer or simply get more information about AIME, contact Nadia at firstname.lastname@example.org NH Nadia Neal talks about the AIME Indigenous mentoring project to a student during O-Week. DONATION TAKES AIME Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) graduate Tairan (Kevin) Huang, who was one of two receipients of the 2011 Chancellor Robert Hope Memorial Prize Medal, has donated $2000 of his prize money to the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME). Kevin, who had been involved with AIME throughout his studies at UOW, said: "I wanted to give the prize money to AIME as the program uses UOW students and encourages young people to feel motivated, to pursue university studies and become part of the UOW community," he said. The Hope Medal honours UOW's Foundation Chancellor and is awarded to students who demonstrate academic excellence and community service. CN $74,000 SHOWS UOW CARES UOW staff are celebrating how good it feels to give after raising over $74,000 in 2011 through the UOW Cares workplace giving program. The funds, which increased by 14% since 2010, were raised through three major campaigns: a membership drive, coffee week and Christmas card sales. All money raised by the program goes towards vital financial assistance for the ongoing work of charitable and other community organisations such as The Smith Family, Cancer Council NSW, The Fred Hollows Foundation and Oxfam. Community Engagement Officer Rachel Dyer said UOW Cares had raised $278,000 since its inception and launched a staff volunteering pilot in 2011. "Everyone is very pleased by the funds raised last year. These results show how truly committed staff are to their community," she said. "Workplace giving has been established now for four years and each year the funds raised have increased." Workplace giving is a simple and effective way for staff to regularly donate to a community group with a deductible gift recipient status (DGR) through automated payroll deductions. Staff are able to pledge a nominated amount which is sent to their chosen organisation each pay. By contributing to a workplace giving pre- tax program, staff receive the benefit of an immediate deduction from their fortnightly salary and can be assured their donation is received free of charge by their organisation of choice. Ultimately, this means less money is spent on fundraising expenses and more is available to be used for the actual cause. JB Tairan Huang
CONNECT:UOW July 2012