St Patrick’s has been running our Indigenous Homestay Program for many years and through the program 19 young men’s lives have been changed. Each of them has come from a remote community where the educational options are very limited and our community here at St Patrick’s has taken them in and given them another place to call home.

As a community we work to live out the EREA Indigenous Education Priorities:

  • Justice and Advocacy
  • Access
  • Authentic Relationships
  • Quality Education
  • Spirituality and Cultural Awareness
  • Education for Reconciliation

These priorities have two clear calls to us:

  • Our Edmund Rice Approach to education says that we should be educating all of our students towards reconciliation between Australia’s First People and other Australians – we do this through education about culture, justice and advocacy, and by the building of right relationships, etc
  • The second approach is direct working for justice and equity by offering young indigenous people access to good quality educational opportunities that aren’t available to them at the moment.

For us here at St Patrick’s the Homestay Program works in both of these approaches. The program enriches our community by opening our students and families to Indigenous young people, their experience of life and their sense of life here in Australia today while offering them the experience of education and life in our community.

The young men who come here on homestay come from Normanton, a town of 1200 people in the Gulf Country of North Queensland, 23 and a quarter hours drive from Brisbane, 17 days worth of walking according to Google, or 4 hours on two different flights.

Life for these young men and for their community is different from life here in Brisbane and yet we are in the same state. The other thing that is the same is the desire in them and their families for their young men to grow into men of character and integrity and also to find success in whatever area they choose.

These young men and their community need our support and so I ask you to think about whether you have space in your family and your home to offer a young man from Normanton a safe place to grow. Our community has a responsibility to support these young men and we need your help to fulfil that responsibility.

Please come along to a Homestay Information Evening on Thursday 22 August at 6:00pm in the library to find out some more details about the program and what it might mean for you and for a young man from Normanton.

Mr Tim Kenny – Dean of Identity