Yo, you fellas! No doubt you have heard of the Clontarf Foundation before… you might even be part of a Clontarf Academy at your school. If not, you so have to read this article!
Carl and I are love the work Clontarf Foundation does.
Clontarf Foundation states that they “exist to improve the education, discipline, life skills, self-esteem and employment prospects of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and by doing so equip them to participate meaningfully in society”.
Pretty wordy… but its all about helping you mob do well in school and life.
Carl was there from the very start of the Halls Creek Clontarf Academy and spent 9 years building up the Academy and its many awesome programs. When I was working in Halls Creek DHS I called on the Clontarf mob to come in to help the boys often- just to give them support in class or to take them out for some time out to chill and re-centre.
In his role with the Halls Creek Clontarf Academy, Carl hung out and mentored Aboriginal boys from grade 5 until after school. Together Carl, his Clontarf colleagues and the boys played sport, went on camps and excursions, and learnt in classes. One of the best parts of the program is that it supports graduates beyond schooling with employment support and mentoring.
But it was more than that- it was all about building relationships and trust. Clontarf Officers had to be dedicated to getting to know the boys and their families- what barriers exist for them, what they want for their futures. These meaningful relationships and powerful male role models were what made the Halls Creek Academy such a success.
Clontarf even helps you give back to your community. You might feel really low and like your life sucks- but Clontarf gives you ways to show that you have something to contribute and to build your pride. You might take on the older men in community AFL or basketball games, you might visit the elderly, you might run sausage sizzles in the park, clean up the streets, invite guest speakers in to do workshops.
Based on behaviour and attendance, Clontarf boys are invited to attend regular excursions and camps- learning out on country, participating in sports and gaining life experience.
If you don’t have Clontarf in your school you might speak to your student and school councillors, teachers or administration team to see if it is something they might be able to get at your school!
If you are an older reader- Clontarf accepts donations to continue to important work they do- feel free to visit their website to find out more.
In our book, Black Cockatoo, Mia’s brother struggles with addiction and mental health issues. He finds support in the male role models of his uncles who take him out on country away from the influences that shape him in the town. Mia’s brother’s character was shaped by boys from Clontarf as to was his opportunity for an alternative pathway by being supported by his strong male role models and learning on the land.
What do you love about your Academy? What was your best ever Clontarf trip? Share below.