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A massive year. 👣 A big term. ❤️


It has been a massive year for the Community Spirit Foundation.

We have delivered in-class visits, taken more than 80 young people on eight camps and worked with clients as part of our Sprints Passport program to acquire a range of accreditations, qualifications and tools. We have also provided practical support to our communities, participated in community events and our local teams have been trusted sources of advice and information. In addition, I recently travelled to Canberra where I met with senior government officials to advocate for our work and share how we support First Nations young people in our four partner communities. 

But the past few months have not been without their challenges. The referendum placed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples at the centre of a national debate, the cost-of-living crisis has impacted people across our country and our partner communities have been impacted by a huge amount of Sorry Business this year. 

This has made us more motivated than ever to deepen our impact. We have been busy working on our programs for next year, which will offer holistic support to the young people we work with, with a focus on providing practical solutions and offering emotional health and wellbeing support. 

We’re excited for the future of the foundation, and for the impact we know we can have. And we thank you for your support.

Shellee Strickland

CEO, Community Spirit Foundation


Give with purpose this year

Looking to give with purpose this year? Donate to Community Spirit Foundation to support First Nations young people as they strive throughout their education journey and beyond.


Welcome a-Board

Community Spirit Foundation is proud to welcome two new members to its Board – Professor Juanita Sherwood and Professor Tracey Bunda.

Professor Juanita Sherwood is a proud First Nations Australian whose rich career spans more than 40 years. Juanita started her working life in nursing before transitioning to primary teacher. These experiences provided her with a strong notion for equity and safety in health care and education.

Professor Tracey Bunda is a Ngugi/Wakka Wakka woman and The University of Queensland Professor of Indigenous Education. She has an extensive three-decade career in the university sector as a leader of Indigenous Higher Education.

You can read about our esteemed seven-member Board here


A CEO's reflection on Horizons

I’ve been to Sydney many times before. The harbour is always beautiful, the beaches are inviting and, no matter how parochially Victorian I might be, I can’t deny how good the weather is.

But, my last visit to the NSW capital is one that I’ll never forget; because I saw the city through a new lens.

I was lucky enough to meet up with Year 9 and 10 students on one of Community Spirit Foundation’s Horizons camps. These young people had travelled there from our partner communities in the Northern Territory and Queensland. And, for those who had never been to a capital city before, it must have felt like they had journeyed to another world. 


(Above) Community Spirit Foundation's Margaret Garawirrtja performs an original song, (below right) Zaachariaha Fielding and Michael Ross of Electric Fields performed at Runu Dhapirrk, (below left) members of the island's Pride Family performed.

Glitz and glamour in Galiwin’ku

Award-winning music duo Electric Fields made a special appearance at the Runu Dhapirrk Festival in Galiwin’ku last month. 

Runu Dhapirrk is the Yolŋu phrase for ‘Island Deadly’ and the festival was a celebration of community and culture. The event also marked the start of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence campaign. 

Community Spirit Foundation’s own Margaret Garawirrtja emceed the evening and performed an original song – Smile for the World – with members of the Yolŋu Pride Family, who also shined on the catwalk. Future Saltwater Band and Jack Gumbula performed as well.

Community Spirit Foundation was proud to partner with Galiwin'ku Women's Space, East Arnhem Regional Council, Yalu Aboriginal Corporation, Connected Beginnings Galiwin’ku, Miwatj Health, Shepherdson College, Arnhem Land Progress Aboriginal Corporation and the Northern Territory Police to put on the event.


Sprints, sMiles and supporting the next generation

 Long-time friend of the foundation, Steve Hooker, teamed up with Simon Glendenning, Brendan Cole and Hugh van Cuylenburg to attempt to break the 4x400m record for men over 40 at Athletic Victoria's ZATOPEK:10 meet.

 In a sensational run on 2 December, the sMile Relay Team got within one second of the Australian record and raised more than $42,000 for Community Spirit Foundation. They also raised awareness about our work, and inspired other men to find purpose, and prioritise their health, wellbeing and connections with others.

 Steve also caught up with a group of Year 9 and 10 students at Horizons camp to Sydney (pictured above), where he spoke to the young people about setting goals and finding purpose.

You can hear more about Steve Hooker’s journey here and donate here

 Thanks to the money raised through the sMile Relay, Community Spirit Foundation was able to help support the next generation of athletes. Galiwin’ku student Trevor travelled to Perth to compete in the 100m and 400m in the 2023 Chemist Warehouse Australian All Schools Athletics Championships. Congratulations Trevor!


Sprints Passport program clients celebrating their achievements at a showcase in Woorabinda.

Sprints Passport on show in Woorabinda

 Clients of Community Spirit Foundation’s Sprints Passport program had the opportunity to celebrate their successes recently at a showcase event in Woorabinda.

 The young people gathered to hear from CSF staff and members of the local community about opportunities for training and employment and receive certificates of achievement. 

 Since its inception, Sprints Passport program has supported young people in Woorabinda to obtain birth certificates, Medicare cards, white and blue cards, learner licences, and Unique Student Identifier and tax file numbers. They have also received training in CPR, eyebrow threading and barista work, and have achieved their Bronze Medallion, prepared resumes and secured employment.

 Sprints Passport program has been delivered in Woorabinda in partnership with UNICEF Australia. The program is currently being expanded to Palm Island.


Looking Beyond Horizons

A program to provide continued support to the young people who have participated in a Horizons camp is being piloted in Palm Island.

As part of the program, which is based on a case management approach, four young people took part in the inaugural Beyond Horizons trip to Townsville. They spent a morning with Indigenous rangers planting trees to help protect the Great Barrier Reef, visited an engineering machinery firm and toured Townsville Port. The young people also engaged with On Common Country – an Indigenous-owned and operated company that works to empower First Nations Australians through greater economic participation and employment opportunities – and attended the first Indigenous Motor Traders Preparation Program graduation ceremony, where they heard from graduates about their achievements. 

Beyond Horizons will support students to establish and achieve goals relating to employment, further study and leadership through guidance and advocacy and provide mentorship as they work towards job placements and work experience. 


"Recently I travelled to Townsville and Mackay ... when I returned to Woorabinda, I knew then I was going to CSF to ask for help ...

Samana and Khanita was there to support me when I arrived, Samana was able to come to my house and talk to my mum and help us both.

Samana explained to both of us that the spelling of my name was incorrect on my mum's identification, but my birth certificate had the right spelling. So, we then started all the new applications for my identifications.

I knew I needed help at that moment, and I always think of CSF for support I know they are always around and go 100% for us."

~ Jeromey, Woorabinda



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