In a 1991 report to Congress it was noted that all evidence points to the alienation of young people from education. Formal schooling generally continues to fail most Aboriginal youth. Access to tertiary education, proportionately, is well below that of the non-Aboriginal population. Unemployment and disillusionment are rampant. Everywhere there is frustration with a school system that rarely leads to employment, and usually is an inadequate preparation for further education or a significant role in community. For many Indigenous youth this is still the case.
UAICC youth ministry adopts a holistic approach. It addresses the issues of unemployment, poverty, poor health and housing, racism, domestic and street violence, imprisonment and low self esteem, as well as the threats to health from alcohol, tobacco, drugs and gambling.
Congress’s vision for youth
The vision for youth ministry expressed almost two decades ago remains relevant today. This ministry is:
- to enable our young people to develop a relationship with God, and an identity as Christian Indigenous youth;
- to enable our young people to understand and value their own cultural heritage and be confident in addressing the issues of racism, marginalization, and discrimination they are and will experience;
- to encourage Indigenous youth to continue in school and become life-long learners;
- to encourage youth to have hope and strong belief in their ability to achieve – to develop the attitude that ‘We can achieve whatever we set our minds to do’;
- to help them develop positive attitudes towards peers, teachers and community.