Our cultural support team are Aboriginal and / or Torres Strait Islander workers whose primary role is to support non-indigenous foster carers and staff to better understand the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in care, and to respond in a holistic way that considers family, spiritual, community and individual needs.
Meet Russell, a proud Gubbi, Waka, Kulili man. Russell is one of our cultural support workers. He guides non-indigenous foster carers on cultural services and ways to help children experience and learn about their culture and the history of their family connections.
“I became a cultural support worker as I wanted to give back to my people and to share my knowledge of my culture, to anyone who wants to learn about indigenous culture. I also wanted to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children so they have a better start in life,” Russell said.
“I would also like to see all the indigenous kids in care learn more about their culture. The cultural support team can teach them to be proud of who they are and where they come from.”
Russell is inspired by his elders, mother and sisters. “My elders set the bar extremely high and have always worked to improve the lives of our people,” he said.
“My hope is that kids in care are started on an employment pathway or training that leads directly to employment.”Russell
Lalania is from the Kuku Yalanji tribe in Mossman, Far North Queensland, and has recently moved to the Gold Coast to join us as a cultural support worker. Lalania is passionate about working with our Jarjums (children) and non-indigenous foster carers through culturally appropriate activities that include, language, song, dance, art, medicinal plant uses, cooking, hunting, gathering, storytelling and more.
“My aim is to help strengthen the children’s cultural identity as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander in modern society and use my cultural knowledge and upbringing to help guide our carers to take on this responsibility also.”
“I have a passion for helping my people and see the cultural support role as an opportunity to bridge the gap between the non-indigenous foster carers and our Jarjums,”Lalania
“My mother, who is a Traditional Owner, Stolen Generation Survivor and well respected Elder in our small Aboriginal community, is my rock and inspiration who has taught me all there is to know about my cultural identity, cultural protocols and being the best Aboriginal person that I can be in today’s society. My mother’s hardships and past trauma of being removed from her family in her younger years, drives me to help the children who are needing that connection to family, culture, sea and land,” she said.
You Be You is dedicated to celebrating the diversity of carers and the important role they play in keeping kids in care safe. If you want learn more about the cultural support we offer read our blog post about keeping culture at the heart of caring.