Black and Deadly is a series of regular workshops and gatherings for Indigenous female students aged 13 to 18 who are at risk of disengaging from Queensland Gold Coast schools.
It provides them a forum to develop life skills and social networks, and supports them to complete their schooling. The life skills include self-esteem, leadership, resilience, better decision-making, goal setting, time management, anger management, advocacy, confidence and effective study skills.
Black and Deadly received $50,000 in 2011-12 under the Indigenous Women’s Program, and was featured in the Closing the Gap: Prime Minister’s Report 2013.
With a target of 25 participants, Black and Deadly has successfully engaged with more than 150 female students, drawn from 14 Gold Coast Schools. These sessions have included visits to universities, dance classes, a Murri carnival, interview training, cultural lessons among a range of other activities.
There are more than 20 adult women volunteers involved, including community Elders and past graduates of the program who now act as mentors and allies to the younger women. Between the scheduled gatherings, one-on-one support is provided to individual students by these women on an as needed basis.
Black and Deadly has attracted broad based respect and support from other community organisations and from participating schools. It involves an alliance with the Gold Coast Titans rugby league team, which has assisted with and hosted some of the activities under this program.
An overarching objective of Black and Deadly is to provide opportunities for young women to connect to the Elders who are the caretakers of their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage.
This program provides pathways to assist young women to take on leadership and mentoring roles as they mature and supports them to understand what it means to be a strong Indigenous woman in the community.
In 2012, Black and Deadly has also begun engaging with Indigenous boys and now includes some 50 boys with whom it conducts activities.
Black and Deadly is delivered by Yallburru (Gold Coast Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation for Community Consultation), which is itself auspiced by Wesley Mission.
President of Yallburru is Aunty Pat Leavy, a passionate and highly active advocate for Indigenous youth in a geographic area with high needs for the support that Black and Deadly offers.
There is strong anecdotal evidence that Black and Deadly has assisted in encouraging particular Indigenous students to remain in schooling, thus assisting with closing the gap in educational outcomes.