Empowering Aboriginal girls and women to make informed choices about their future is at the core of Shooting Stars. With the support of Horizon Power, Shooting Stars was able to implement a Sparks and Pathways Program in 2021.
This program aims to support participants on their education journey, helping them to identify and develop their spark and passions in years 8-10, and then in years 11-12 to prepare participants for their post-school journey by identifying and developing their post-school education and employment pathways - often by harnessing their spark to drive that decision making.
What is a "Spark"?
When people are really happy, energised, and passionate about their talents, interests, or hobbies, we say that they have a spark in their life. The spark is more than just interesting or fun for them. They are passionate about it. It gives them joy and energy. It is a really important part of their life that gives them real purpose, direction, or focus. Research shows when young people have a spark and the adults and peers around them affirm those sparks, they are more likely to succeed in school, be more engaged and be more hopeful about the future.
The Search Institute has conducted extensive research on sparks and how they can affect whether young adults thrive or simply survive. Check it out here.
Why is finding your "Spark" important?
In the Shooting Stars Sparks program, our aim is to help our young girls identify their spark as a way to help them build their confidence and sense of self. This is important, given that many of the girls we work with are profoundly affected by intergenerational trauma. Exposure to trauma, whether direct or secondary, manifests in negative behaviours such as academic disengagement and antisocial behaviour, as well as in feelings of toxic shame. Many of our participants have little desire for personal growth, and even those with the highest school attendance rates can be held back by low self-esteem and a fear of failure.
Intergenerational trauma is deeply entrenched in many of the communities Shooting Stars works in. There are very few services to promote healing in these communities and young girls have access to few opportunities to break free of the cycle of trauma.
The Sparks Program provides a critical opportunity for students in years 9 and 10 to grow their social capital and maximise their education. Participants will uncover their ‘spark’, strengthen their confidence and intrinsic motivation, and establish a support network of adults in their community.